It takes a concerted effort to find a resting place when we are surrounded by heart-breaking news both in the world and for many, in our own lives.
And yet, our tradition teaches the deep lesson of Shabbat: pausing and resting and taking a breath is essential to building our universe.
In this spirit, I’m sending you something I wrote last week about noticing beauty, even during dark times.
I’m personally committed to shedding light in the darkness, each day, and this email is part of that intention. When I wrote this, it was on “CyberMonday” right after “Black Friday” and I felt barraged.
This was before San Bernadino, just 90 miles east of where we live.
I hope you will take time this weekend to breathe, pause, and say thank you for unexpected gifts – like the sky. And now, the sky.
I am fascinated by the sky. If you’ve seen my facebook page, it is filled with photos of sunsets and clouds. This past summer when we drove from California to visit our son in Colorado, I took hundreds of pictures out the (passenger) car window of the colorful sky, billowing clouds, and the way the light changed as we moved east.
I am blessed to work from my home office with a constant view of the sky. Early this week, as I noticed the sun going down and the magnificent colors appearing, I ran outside with my camera to capture the sky (as if I could…)
And this got me to wondering – what is so compelling to me about this?
First — The light is the surest indicator of the spiritual principle that “everything changes.” When I feel stuck in the place of either wanting things to be different than they are or desiring the joy to last longer – I only need to look outside to remember: everything changes.
Second — Each sunset is as unique as a snowflake and as an individual soul. One night has more orange and blue and the next sunset, what I notice most is the black crows on the wire against the backdrop of the fiery sky. (And somehow they quiet down their loud cries as the sun sets – perhaps they, too, are watching?)
And third— I can’t tell the sunset to hang on a minute while I finish this lesson plan or article. In order to take in the beauty being splayed across the heavens this moment, I must put my computer down and get outside. Doing so often reminds me of the title of one of Rabbi Larry Kushner’s books: “I’m God, You’re Not.”
After a day of pursuing and accomplishing (or procrastinating) I receive what is given to me. It’s s gift I can’t create on my own, one that I didn’t ask for and certainly can’t count on every night. In the words of Meister Eckhart, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
What a welcome break from the world of my screens either showcasing horrific scenes or the drumbeat of all the ways I can buy buy buy – promising happiness with the next new thing.
Happiness is right in front of me.