It’s been a rough week here at the Safek house. First, there was the bomb threat to our Synagogue on Monday that shook the ground a bit beneath us, like a small earthquake, not enough to damage anything, but enough to remind you that the ground isn’t as steady as you like to pretend it is. Then, I had a crushing week at work, full of conflict and stress. My husband had a lot of frantic activity at his job as well. There was all the normal stuff any family has to deal with, rushing around to errands, coordinating schedules, making sure homework is finished and teeth brushed. Then, yesterday, there was an unexpected bout of “discouragement.” I was still in the ring and swinging, but I was definitely leaning on the ropes, slumping, my eyes barely open.
Today, though…my eyes can see the light at the end of this tunnel. I can see the candlelight of Shabbat, merely hours away.
No matter what happens in the week, Shabbat awaits, an island to escape to. I start to feel it more in the afternoon. Even as I rush to finish salads, working like a general to send the kids rushing to make sure lights are on in the right rooms and off in others, making sure someone remembers to tear the toilet paper, my chest is starting to lose that tightness it sometimes gets around Wednesday or Thursday. The tasks I’m doing, while they may be rushed, particularly in winter when the Sabbath can come so early here, are less weighty.
We made it. We survived another week!
No matter what happened during the week, it’s all swept aside like the things that accumulate on the dining room table as it’s used almost as much for homework and bills as it is for eating. The afternoon before Shabbat, that table is cleared off, a clean tablecloth put down, and the fine china comes out. Treats we don’t indulge during the week bake in the oven. Up here in the frozen north, fresh fruits and vegetables are a particular luxury in the winter. You never know what will be available or good. For Shabbat, we get the best we can and there are salads and fruit. Kosher meat is also incredibly expensive and scarce. On Shabbat, we take a break from lentils and chickpeas and everyone has some meat.
Shabbat is a reminder that no matter how hard a week is, it’s just another week and those hardships can and do pass. It helps me see the bigger picture rather than being trapped only focusing on the negative. At our house, we have a tradition of going around the table as we eat and each person saying something that they were grateful for this week. No matter how hard the week has been, everyone finds some bright spots to mention, reminding us that our problems aren’t nearly as big and overwhelming as we’re sometimes tricked into believing.
This week did have tears, but it also had smiles and laughter, too. There were some wonderful bright spots where everyone was able to kind of float above all the stress. When there were tears, we were there to hug each other and offer comfort. As I light my candles tonight, I will certainly thank G-d that even in a week like this, I am so blessed with love and kindness in my life, that I don’t have to face life alone and that I have a family that I can lean on when I feel weak.
I hope everyone can find those things in their life to be thankful for and focus on this Shabbat. Shabbat shalom!