Friday, April 6, 2007

Grateful Friday

My week's coming to an end, and my cup overflows with gratefulness!

The PT job I've been training for has seen a wonderful initial schedule, which was slated to require my services every weekend has, through the kindness of a supervisor and the higher kindness of God (I prayed for this, and am SO happy about it!) been altered to allow me to work NO Saturdays! This is really huge for me, and is really unusual in retail. So major YAYYYY!!!! Many many thanks going up tonight!

It's also a thankful matter, and lends great cheer to myself and my husband, that we're now both gainfully employed, and with further opportunities possible on the horizon. Ah, such a wonderful feeling!

I'm also so grateful for my homesteading friends here whose comments and blogs really inspire me and make this journey so much richer...thank you so much! I'm learning, and enjoying knowing you!

I intended to write about Passover, but I'm afraid by the time my keyboard catches up with my available time, it will still be too much to write out. It was fun being surrounded by friends who are like family, and was a very different experience than some of the bigger paid synagogue events we've been a part of a few times. For all my snarking about the food and cooking vagaries, the meaning of the holiday always transcends any and all of that. It moves me to tears and to joy at the same time, because the essence of the night is To Remember. The biblical texts come alive not because there are food symbols arranged on a seder plate, but because we are commanded to retell the story to our children saying "When I was delivered out of Egypt..." To me, this means that our commemoration is as real now as the event was then -- and it is our privilege to be counted as if we were there -- because in enacting this memorial, we're reckoned as being a part of that first mixed multitude that Went Forth. Ah, I love this season! I can hardly imagine what a parted sea would have been like, but I'd have loved to witness that and tell it to my children and grandchildren. So many amazing deliverances. Yes, it's not possible to express what I'm feeling adequately without rambling on and on without an end in sight. I just don't want to minimize it in any way. And so I'll stop here. The text in Exodus is eloquent enough. :)

I'm reminded of how inseparable food is with our daily lives and our family ties, and even our worship. It didn't use to be so politically incorrect to mention faith as something integral with life entire. In fact, it was only in recent history that nations adopted a partitioning of faith from state. I'm not going to comment further on that, but I'll very briefly mention a correlation I've noticed when reading about ancient sacrifice and today's table. In the Hebrew texts, sacrifices were not the "throw-a-virgin-into-the-volcano-to-appease-the-angry-gods" event that characterized some civilizations. Maybe I'm fresh from the reading of The Omnivore's Dilemma, or just becoming more appreciative of being AWARE of where our food really comes from these days. But it really struck me that the order and instructions regarding the "sacrifices" in the Hebrew practices of old had very much to do with a sober appreciation for life and our connection with, and respect for, the gift of food and sustenance.

There was no drive-through and impersonal supply of malignant abused battery cage poultry then. In fact, meat was a rarer meal, pretty much justified only for the more special of events. And in a reread of these verses, which in the past seemed like only a catalogue of boring "thou shalts and thou shalt nots" I found that rather than the eating of meat being an impersonal consumer-driven industry and handled disrespectfully, it was raised to the level of being handled by priests, and eaten as a shared feast by the community, in the presence of God. I see a lot of sobriety in the instructions regarding the treatment of animals, the ethics related to their breeding and responsible keeping, and details of how they should and should not be used to feed their human caretakers. As unsavory as this subject is on the best of days, it just stood out to me that each step was safeguarded as a part of, rather than apart FROM, an upright and whole life.

Don't know how I got onto that subject, hmmm. I guess I just find eating, remembering, singing, and feeling the presence of God in it all the perfect balance of what a meal can be, be it herbs or the fatted calf. There is a respect for each item, and a sobriety at the offering, and joy in not taking any of it for granted.

That's all I can write about it...It's so hard to put into words.

So grateful for friends, for the ties to remarkable events and remarkable people and the remarkable Deliverer, tables of food and welcome, husband, daughter, safety, jobs, having Saturday off, discoveries every day if only I'll give pause and see them, lush lettuces in their soil beds, fat green tomatoes, the woodpecker who isn't afraid of me, the cardinals who are, and getting older (which means surviving and having "character lines").

Oh yes, and grateful for laughter!

Shabbat shalom

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