Written on January 23, 2017. By Shari Norvell
Shabbat Chronicles: Volume 3 (1/23/2017)
As I write, our eldest, Axel Pearl is at the turning of 25, her silver jubilee. Memories have been toppling the table of our hearts this morning as we celebrate her entrance into our arms then and all she means to us now.
As we are big celebrators (it is after all part of our covenant) our festivities often start early and go long. For us, that meant getting to have two little boys with us for the weekend while mom and dad had a little birthday hideaway.
We had such fun, start to finish. In the midst of crayons and creativity, drives and dreams, snacks and snuggles, we recognized a very important word to Knightley. Tomorrow.
He says it a lot. “I’ll see you tomorrow. We will go to Target tomorrow (he is Axel’s child afterall). We’ll go to the party tomorrow. We will see the horses tomorrow.” You get the idea.
Though he says this word often, he also says it very specifically. It comes before its time to rest. Nap and night find him with it. Tomorrow. Once he knows that tomorrow is full of a promise, his talk returns to what we just did. The game we played, the book we read, the jaunts and journeys we went on. And then, he sleeps. Rest is part of his covenant, and so his little life reminds me that rest prepares us for that which is yet to come. Tomorrow.
The Hebrew word for tomorrow is ‘machar’ which means, “in time to come”. Since Knightley is three, he doesn’t have a full concept of space and time and he uses another word sometimes. After. Which is so like tomorrow, for ‘achar’ (after in hebrew) means, “the following part”.
I tiptoe away as Knight whispers and waits for sleep to come. And as he falls into dreams and delight, I fall to my knees with whispers of my own. “Pappa, please keep me. Please find me. With a childlike heart.” Because a reveal is wringing. Grasping and gripping, extracting and expressing a truth. It wasn’t the itinerary Knightley was verifying, but the intimacy he was voracious for.
“We were together, wrapped up in moments and minutes. I’m so satisfied, I can rest. Deeply, fully. Will you still be with me when I awaken? No matter what we do, will we do it together? Tomorrow.”
A soul shabbat. A rest stop from the have to’s and should’s. A preparation for the following part. The time yet to come. Where the joy set before seals the contentment of what has been. And prepares us for all that lies ahead. What we can’t see, or define, but rest in great expectancy of.
It keeps us from entitlement because we are so very and utterly grateful that He will be there, no matter what. It keeps us from the drive thru, getting what we can as quickly as we can. It leads us to the table, full of platters and plates. Prepared. Sacred not scattered. Lingering and longing, not lost and lusting.
From bowed knees, I stood, heart still bent and broken open before him. I needed in that moment, desperately to do something with Him. It didn’t matter what. Honestly, it didn’t matter to Pappa either, what it was. It mattered only that He was invited into what it was, all of it. That He could consume it with me, like bread upon table, wine within glass. Communion is more than the tangible components that remind. It is the portion that pursues. That arrests us no matter where we are or what we are doing. No handcuffs or cells. Just braid and beauty.
And so I wrote a poem, with Him. About Him. For us.
Contentment now filling every crevice and crater within me, I laid upon my bed, cradled in gratefulness. Swaddled in satisfied. He was with me in that today. He will be with me tomorrow. No matter what it holds, He holds me.
Take some time with Pappa and your journal. Upon the pages, write something He did with you that you are grateful for. Something you realized you could not have done without Him. Then, let Him reveal something to you that you have been keeping from Him, trying to get for yourself instead of share with Him. Something, that you now realize, you desperately want to do with Him. An act of communion.
We know the joy that comes in preparing for guests. There is also great fun in having people prepare with you. So, invite your guests into the preparation with you. Even inviting them to bring certain elements like plates or platters or something for your table top. Be creative. Then as part of dinner, have communion. This can be bread and wine, of course. It can also be all of you sharing testimonies and then sharing what each one meant to each of you. How the taste if it drew you nearer to him and each other. Simply experience each other in a way you haven’t before.