Ever read about the origin of Lecha Dodi? A nice overview can be found right here at Headcoverings by Devorah.
Imagine if you will, whether or not you are Jewish, the idea of greeting your prescribed time of rest with such joy. If you are grounded o'er much in the modern world, and given to cynicism, then you might think, "oh dear G-d, were their lives so terrible the rest of the week looked so much worse by comparison?" No, though at times there as with other places life wasn't peachy during the work week, it was what it was. The reason is given at that page referenced above.
Though, it comes to mind then that perhaps the reason the week seems so painful to us now, is that we do not greet Shabbat with such delight. Since we see nothing coming but a simple day off someone else said YKW said we should take off, what is there to look forward to really? And if we have nothing worthwhile or of great import to look forward to, then the grind of the week seems even more dreary.
So if we did greet it with such joy, and not faked joy but real true appreciation of our own, then would not the week seem better? Which is a worse picture? A swollen river of rapids and flotsam with nary a rock to be found or a slow placid river with many rocks to step to? When the slow placid river has no rocks to step to, what does it matter? It might as well be flooded anyhow for there's no purchase and the other side might as well be in another country. If you have a path you can trust that never fails you, then the river might be two miles wide and you won't care because you're not stepping in it. You're stepping on the stones.
How then can I hope to have a sense of this all week long as if I was able to follow the calendar invocation of rest and reflection?
By making the goal the path and not the other side of the river. Shabbat is His visitation time with us and it hardly seems fair to limit Him to one day a week, but He seems to accept that little which is big of Him considering we could be simply ordered to do more than that in some way that made our secular lives impossible and left the path of faith to those with someone to completely support them. He lets us have time to work and collect food and pay our bills to keep our roofs.
Given little time on the calendar to make it a simple rote chore or event, I have to be more creative. Which gives me the chance to be subversive and act as a social guerrilla for Him. If I can't carve out sundown to sundown then I will carve it out some other way throughout the whole week. Now then, this is really hard because it means denying the know-nothing faceless world what it wants from me.
The world wants me to react in expected ways. I have to stymie them and not give them that because the ways they expect are negative. The world is cynical, harsh, mechanistic, nihilist, and ultimately bored like a child with a magnifying glass before an ant hill. It doesn't matter why the world does things, only that it will do those things. The world expects me to be ground down. I have to show increasing resilience. The world expects me to be angry when it pokes me. I have to act as though nothing happened. The world expects me to eventually be provoked. I have to never be provoked.
I have to step on the stones of His world and do not more than drag the net they hand me in their river and give them their fish, but not fall in and sputter.
Yeah, blessed are those so challenged. I know, that was sarcasm, but it was also a true statement. I have an opportunity to learn and better myself. So I can thank the world by giving me a river to play with which bugs the world no end because they mean for that river to drown me, I can thank Him by giving me stepping stones and the ability to see them (or at least, I pray for Him to keep on revealing the stones) , and I can thank Him again for showing me this idea so that I can infect the world with more of His subliminal lessons which the world tries so hard not to see.
Hear that world? Yet one more person is on to you and going to spread just a little more sunshine that you'd rather pretend isn't there. So bring it on. You're going to be swinging at me madly trying to make me shut up and missing because I didn't live in your world and visit His, I lived in His world and stuck my head in yours. Thhhhbbbbpppp!!!
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