From Pesach until Shavuot we count the omer. This counting is meant to symbolize the climb from the slavery we experienced in Egypt to the state of complete freedom we achieved as we stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai and accepted the Torah. These days, this climb is a spiritual one. Each day between Pesach and Shavuot we are meant to be improving our character so that we are truly ready to receive the Torah on Shavuot.
You may have noticed, or maybe you have been immersed in the frenzy with me, there have not been any Fabulous Friday posts for the last few weeks. Fridays, despite my best efforts, have been frenzied! I kept repeating my “I am going to make it” mantra to no avail. I tried to stay calm but time pressure created panic. What went wrong? How did I go from fabulous to frenzied so quickly? I need to climb faster!
This week, I am reading Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith. The book is set against the backdrop of a baseball game. Chapter one finds Esquith and 5 of his students at a Los Angeles Dodgers game. The game is about to begin, yet, the stadium is closer to empty than full. Where are all the fans? As Esquith explores this question with his students, we learn the importance of punctuality. Esquith equates punctuality with respect. When you are on time, you show respect for the person you are meeting. In the case of the baseball game, it is the players. At the theatre, the other audience members and the cast. At the airport, well, we can all picture the frantic traveller shoving their way through airport protocol to make their plane!
The problem, according to Esquith, is that the disrespect is not usually only for the person’s time. His students have noticed a strong correlation between being late and other thoughtless behaviours. The person whose cell phone rings mid-performance is likely the same person who was late for the show.
Ouch!! I have been put in my place. When I get so frenzied and go racing into Shabbat at the last minute, I am being disrespectful to Hashem. I am asking Hashem to wait for me! Does my frenzy cause me to be thoughtless or disrespectful in other areas? My children, if they had the nerve, would probably say “yes!”. On those crazy Fridays, I don’t listen to them. I issue commands like a rapid-fire drill sergeant. I expect them to pick up my pieces.
Help! How can I regain my fabulous Fridays? Esquith has several ideas. First and foremost, he says, punctuality takes planning. Ok. I can plan. I make beautiful lists. My problem lies in the execution. I always seem to think there are more hours in the day, that tasks will take less time to accomplish than they do.
This week, for example, I made a list of what cooking was required for Shabbat. Based on that list, I made a shopping list. I went shopping. Great! This morning I should have woken up ready to begin. Except, my husband mentioned that he would like to add “just a few” purchased items to the menu 🙂 And as I went to marinate the meat, I found that whichever helpful child put it away, put it in the freezer (where we always put the meat) instead of the fridge (where I wanted it this time). There might be more to planning than making lists.
One thing we keep meaning to do is start cooking earlier in the week. I mean really, cookies and cakes baked and frozen are still fresh on Shabbat! For some reason, though, the weekdays run away with us and I inevitably wake up Friday morning with no food cooked and ready for Shabbat.
So, this is the new plan, the beginning of new ascent. I will try to have one baking day during the week so that that part of Shabbat is ready on time! Starting next week, of course:)