Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shabbat Shalom from 20,000 Feet

So we have already broken the rules.

Our first shabbat of 2010 was neither at home nor with friends. It was from a cruising altitude of 20,000 feet with a few hundred strangers abroad Southwest airlines. But trust me. There was plenty of religion and conversations with G-d going on:

"For G-d's sake Ben, stop sucking on the seatbelt. Do you wanna get H1N1?"
"Please G-d, don't let my IPhone run out. I will not survive without Hello Kitty and Bakugan."
"Where is that G-d damn drink cart?"

Yes. Fun family travel with a two-year old and a five-year old.

But back to those rules.

Before I was "officially" Jewish, a Jew told me that Judaism has a lots of rules - 613 to be exact - but that the majority of Jews never aspire or even attempt to follow them all. (Pretty sure I have already broken a few in this blog.) According to this guy (whose judgement I later questioned when he convinced me to do a 10k in Israel that required a Palestian cabbie to ferry us through West Bank checkpoints to the start), you can choose the rules that work best in your life. This resonated with me. I like rules. They help eliminate decision-making. I hate decision-making. (More on that later.) I also like rules that can be broken. Perfect. Sign me up.

So, it seems only fitting that as of January 1, 2010, I have already broken the rules.

It also gave me another week to decide what I would write about after each shabbat "experience":

1. Guests: I'll tell you a little bit about the folks that came. But not too much out of respect for their privacy. Our plan is to invite a different family every week. Frankly, after the events of 2009 that is a pretty lofty goal, but we are up for the challenge.
2. Menu: I'll tell you what we ate. Maybe I will even include recipes. Everyone knows that I am a runner. What you may not know is that I run to eat. Most runners do. We spend 90 percent of our long runs talking about food. The other 10 percent is spent talking about how many more miles we have to talk about food. I once ran with a guy who told me that he got excited at night thinking about eating a fryed egg sandwich in the morning. So I am definitely going to talk about the food.
3. Reflections: I'll tell you what I learned which is pretty much the point of this whole thing. To learn something about myself, to give my children an opportunity to learn from our friends and to maybe (hopefully) have our friends walk away with a little something more than a full stomach and a hangover.

But maybe I'll change my mind and write about something else.

Because here's the thing. After 39 years I now know that I can change my mind.

Last summer when I was in a very dark place a friend of mine met me for coffee. We talked about my situation and here's what she said:

"Rebecca, you can make a decision. Then you can change your mind."

Really? You've got to be kidding me. For 39 years I have been walking around thinking that all decisions are permanent. I have wasted countless hours weighing options, delaying and avoiding decisions. I have worn myself out in the diaper aisle. "Are Pampers really better than generics?" "Will Sarah love me less if I buy the cheapos?" "Does that make me a bad mother?" You get the picture.

When Suzy told me this a giant weight was lifted. Was it that simple? No, not exactly. But it was the most useful piece of advice I have been blessed to receive. Thanks Suzy. Today I believe in love, have faith and choose happiness. And I also buy generic diapers.

So maybe you will read about Guests, Menus and Reflections or maybe I will change my mind. You'll have to keep reading to find out.

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