Earlier last week, I wrote about needing a spiritual pick-me-up, an esoteric cup-o-joe for my tired neshama (soul) – and I made a pledge to myself to set a loving boundary that I would take my rejuvenation time alone in my bedroom. I felt very guilty about this because I felt like I was excluding my mother; but, in reality, it was she who excluded herself by choice. Well, in the end, I went one better. I phoned a friend and asked her to host me for the weekend.
We had an awesome time and it turned out that she was the one who needed support and a friend for Shabbat, much more than me. So we consoled each other.
I would like to make a note about inviting myself over for the weekend.
When I was a child, we were discouraged from having friends over. My brother never did, and I mean never. As for me, I was too argumentative to take that bs, so I fought for my rights as a human being. The rule became that I could occasionally have a friend spend the night or even just come over to play for a few hours – but – I was not allowed to ask if she could stay for dinner in front of the friend. I had to excuse myself and ask my mother in private (where she could say “No”).
I was severely reprimanded if I broke this rule. Outsiders were never welcome and I needed to remember that.
Fast forward 25 years… I get involved in the Shabbat-keeping community (Jewish, of course) and they try to teach me that it is a blessing to have guests for the weekend. “Please come and stay in our house all weekend. We would love to have you.”
It took me a few years to unlearn the ways of my upbringing, that outsiders are never wanted. It was hard for me. Plus, I couldn’t reciprocate because if a woman with five kids sets one extra plate at the table for me, it is not the same thing as me adding seven more to my one! But, in the Jewish community, families really do consider it a blessing to have guests. They want me there. Good Shabbes, everyone.