Converting to Judaism

The Oys and Joys of Choosing A Jewish Life

Days of Rest

on May 24, 2014

Before last night, I had forgotten how to rest. I’ve been home on vacation for a week starting today, but I didn’t know how to take a break from the busy, hectic life I’d been leading. Rest? What is rest? Even sleeping ten hours a night was a chore, another item to check off my to-do list. Catch up on sleep. Check. I’ve read a book, applied to 10 jobs, and cleaned around the house, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of restlessness that followed me everywhere.

Early Friday afternoon, I was dreading services that evening. Please G-d, can we skip the day of rest this week? You’ve nearly killed me with rest already. I swear, I’m good, I don’t need anymore. Let’s have dinner, sing some songs, and get back to the real work.

I didn’t realize I had forgotten what the real work was. Or whose work I am supposed to be doing.

See, resting involves letting go. Forgetting a schedule, forgoing plans, and letting a lot of things up to chance. And as I sat surrounded by loving people and heartfelt voices and the beauty of the space that is Shabbat, I saw that there’s a lot I need to let go. The past semester and whatever grades I’ve earned. This desire to be constantly moving forward. The fears of the future. Sometimes, I need to relinquish some of that control and just accept whatever happens in the day, and not worry about what’s coming next. Only then can I truly rest.

So today I helped chop wood, went on a few errands, and now I’m sitting listening to the birds. For me, doing no work involved letting G-d set the agenda for the day, enjoying the gorgeous spring weather, and letting nothing other than the cool breeze stir my heart.

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