Tuesday, June 18, 2013

on Alone

Being alone is such a strange phenomenon.  There was a time in my life when being alone made me sad, made me lonely.  At this point in my life, being alone centers and focuses me.  I remember when I was married, before children I was working at a Music school as the music librarian, and as a Teaching Assistant in the preschool.  I worked the mornings in the preschool, then went to the library to organize the music.  The playground is outside where the library was, and I would watch the children play as I worked.  At that point, I longed to be outside, where the children were.  As I considered my future and a path for a career, I decided that I would work toward becoming a preschool classroom teacher.  I wanted to be with people, with children.  Something about being with others brings me alive. 

Then, I got pregnant.  YAY!  I never pursued becoming a classroom teacher, being a mom fills that gap these days. However.  I need time alone.  Being a mother has taught me that as much as I love being with my family, I cherish those evening moments when they are fast asleep in bed, and those daytime moments when they are all at school.  When my children are near me, I am constantly on call for them. When they are away, I can think long thoughts like I used to.  I am allowed to daydream and be myself, not just mommy.  I love living in community of any sort, because being in community is what keeps me from being lonely.

After considering for a long time, I've decided that the first community anyone is a part of is the family.  Most people don't think of it as such, but it really is.  Children learn how to function with other people, deal with leaders (parents), and peers (siblings).  That's one of the reasons I find it important that I have more than one child in my family, so they can work together for things.  The reason I love Judasim the most is it's focus on family as community.  Faith doesn't only work at a place of worship, it functions in the house.  The Shabbat table is a table where God is honored, talked about, and blessed.  Passover happens in the home.  These rituals developed so that families can build the community of faith in their homes.

Once a person has lived in community like a family, he or she takes that role, that personality, and the skills learned in the family, and applies it wherever he goes.  So when a child goes to school in preschool or kindergarten, strong family values follow him into the classroom.  School, workplace, and places of worship are secondary communities to the family.  I think we miss that sometimes when we think about community.  People talk about family and then community, but family is community, and it is the job of the parents to lead and direct that community.  You can see how effective family communities can be when children follow in their parents' footsteps in family business, or to live nearby.

Imgine a world without family.  Children are birthed and put in schools as soon as they are born, caregivers would be professional parents.  Aren't there scifi books like this?  Brave New World? I don't remember.  The idea of mother and father would be nonexistent.  Something about humans draws us together to live in family communities.

I like living in a family community.  I longed for it very much my college years.  Now, I snag my peace as I can, but living in family is what my soul needs.  What of those who do not have a small home community to call their own?  I suppose that's when you draw upon the next layer of community - neighborhood, school, place of worship, extended family - to fill the gap.  I think we all need a delicate balance of being alone and being with others.  As much as I'm an introvert and need time to regroup by myself, I know I need a balance of being alone and being with others.  And babies count as people!  It is a miracle to use the bathroom uninterrupted!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Shabbat thought

Shabbat Shalom!

May your Shabbat be full of joy, and full of peace.  May you focus of God over everything else.  This Shabbat, keep your eyes open for the fingerprints of God.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

tuesday unwrapped

on being content

Sometimes people talk about being content and settled with life.  I have not settled for my life, and therefore, I am content.  In fact, my friend Rachel talked about this fact in her blog recently.  It is common to not be happy, to be striving for something else.  But even as I strive for the next thing, I can appreciate what I have.

Life is good.  God is good.  For so much of my life, I have thought about the Tomorrow.  What happens when.  When I go to college. When I get married.  When I have children.  When the kids go to school.  When looms ahead of us, and trying to catch up to when is as fruitless as trying to catch the wind.

These days I've been able to breathe a little, look around me and allow the Whens to blow away on the wind...like a released balloon.  There are miracles around me everyday, and I am privileged to see them.  It's just choosing to notice the miracles instead of the craziness that surround them.

  • My youngest walking to school, reading a book.  Yes.  I held on to him the entire time.
  • My kid's peas are growing tall and strong.  The rest of my garden?  Not planted.
  • A little silence to hear the clock ticking.  

Yeah.  Just another instance of noticing those fingerprints in the dust.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Shabbat thought

From the Haftorah (The Prophets) 1 Samuel 12:16

Short and sweet, this verse stands alone, even out of context of the story.  Not many verses can do this, and this one does.  No matter the story in the Bible, or the story we're living, we can always look around and see God's miracles.  They're there.  We just have to find them.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

tuesday unwrapped

One of my favorite bloggers blogs at Chatting at the Sky.  I have been so inspired by her writing about art, and about courage.  I'd have to say that because of her encouragement, I'm trying this.  One of the things my friend (this is what happens when you read a blogger faithfully, she becomes your friend...) Emily has done in the past is tuesday unwrapped series where she writes things she is thankful for.  I'm jumping on that bandwagon to see where it goes.

As I walk through my day, there is so much mess laying around. Three little kids, a house to keep, days to organize - things can get out of hand sometimes. It's the little things that can stop me in my tracks.  Some things make me think a bit. My babies are growing up 5, 3, and infant have grown into 9, 7, and 4. The little things that we used to need, my kids don't need anymore. We're growing out of sippy cups, diapers and baby toys. I'm thankful for my family, for my husband and children. I'm thankful for the toys we've outgrown and how healthy my children have been.

Fingerprints in the dust and footprints in the sand are trails, tracks - forensic evidence of things that have been.  As I examine the trail, I can see the miracles that are with us in the evening, in the roaring and in the afternoon.  We all leave a trail, too.  It makes me wonder what kind of fingerprints I leave behind me.

I love Jewish liturgy.  For me, the ancient words speak to my heart the way an old Bach fugue can.  Even if I've played the piece a hundred times and have it memorized, I can find new meaning in it. One of my favorite passages from Jewish liturgy is from the Amidah:

"We greatfully thank you for you are our God....for your miracles that are with us in the evening, in the morning, and in the afternoon."

Big miracles. Small miracles. We are constantly surrounded by miracles.  What miracle do you see today?