I love synchronicities. Coincidences that remind me of God in everyday life. Last night Rabbi Zedek quoted someone along the lines of “and we go blind among the miracles.” And yesterday my mom quoted to me, “We are not humans having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.”
So today, God gave me a nice synchronicity, a reminder of how good friends can be and how wonderful it is to see them. I got out of bed late and dragged myself to services. I haven’t been going lately to Saturday services, but my friend Diane was subbing for the cantor and Rabbi Z is back from his mini-sabatical. A great shabbat to return, I thought. I got there in the middle of MaTovu and who was sitting in the second to last row (and who left an aisle seat open?) My good friend Jo from Shocker Kahn.
Hooray! We haven’t seen each other in about a month and she quit blogging, so it feels like even longer. What a fun treat to see a good friend at Saturday services. And she had a new friend with her, someone new to chicago who is Shul Shopping. After services we all went out for coffee and talked non-stop for almost two hours.
We just sat and talked about being jewish, converting, judaism, congregations, shul shopping, orthodoxy, reform, transition. Aliyah, the new friend, asked a funny question. “What were your hobbies before you were jewish? Obviously you spent a lot of time studying, so what did you do with your time before converting?”
Hmmm. Good question. What did I do before I spent my free time becoming a jew? Well… I always made one thing a priority. One class that was non-negotiable. I would not make conflicting plans, I would say no to any fantastic invitiation. In order the things I used to say to friends were…
“I can’t, I have drum circle.”
“I can’t, I’m doing stand-up.”
“I can’t, I have writing class.”
“I can’t, it is Shabbat.”
Although now, I often say, “Yes, I’ll see you at the shul.” I have found/created/joined a wonderful community of Jews at my shul and in the city. My friends who aren’t particularily religious jews will sometimes come with me to check out the place I call home. So will my friends who aren’t Jews at all, but are curious. Lucky for me, I’m blessed with a welcoming congregation that doesn’t blink an eye at our motley crew of Jews and Gentiles.
I love that I can say to other people my age, there is a synagogue you can go to that isn’t about what car you drive, what brand you wear, or when you got your hair done. It is actually about relating to God and relating to people. Often, relating to people is a way of relating to God. And I know, I know–in the reform movement talking about God can be contraversial, but we do talk about God, the Highest Power, Adonai… It.
So after a kind of hard week at work and in my personal life, it was wonderful to spend two hours of shabbat in a coffee house talking about judaism. Last night services didn’t quite work for my spirit, but today the magic of shabbat was felt four-fold.
Good thing Shabbat lasts for 25 hours and not just the 90 minutes on Friday night. Plenty of time to re-soul and I feel like I have.