Thankful.

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I returned Sunday afternoon from a final weekend retreat with my AVODAH fellowship. The retreat was incredible and I couldn’t have asked for more (sans maybe an extra day). The home cooked meals were amazing, conversation deep, country surroundings gorgeous and the individuals that comprise my fellowship are honestly just amazing human beings that do so much to make the world a better place.

It took me a few moments to get into the retreat groove. I’ve had a lot of things on my mind lately; friendships, career, love, money, Judaism, Israel and general life contemplation (very light subject matter). The weight of these thoughts have been dragging me down in unexpected ways and took me at least 12 hours from the time I arrived at the gorgeous Bailey Farms for my mind to settle down long enough for me to fully enjoy my surroundings. It took a Shabbat intervention.  I shut off my phone. This is something that I mean to do every Shabbat…but always proves difficult due to the 4 billion excuses I have on standby. I’ll admit that the first few hours were a bit 1st world hellish. I thought about my beloved white & gold phone upstairs tucked inside my duffle bag. How I couldn’t take any photos, text, Snapchat, swipe through Tinder, Facebook or check the time. I painfully eased into it…and slowly the thought flutters settled. I could see the stars, be present in conversations, learned the difference between a semi-colon and a colon, laugh, sing and gained some much needed perspective. Iphone what?

It made me realize what a privilege observing Shabbat is and how I should take full advantage of it. It rejuvenates me in both spiritual and temporal ways unlike anything else can. It’s not about being “Shomeret Shabbat” for me and not carrying items out of the eruv. It’s about being present in life and mindful of all that G-d has given me. It’s about not being a slave to anything or anyone and once a week from sundown to sundown we get to remind ourselves of this as Jews.

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