Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spiritual "To Do List"

Last week was pretty crazy and I'm glad it's over. Between stomach pains and a recurring headache for 5 days straight, I wasn't exactly at the top of my game. Then the icing on the cake was a last minute directive at work on Wednesday afternoon that I was going to have to teach a software training class on Thursday, because my colleague who was supposed to do it had to stay home with her sick son. Typically I get 4-6 weeks warning about training, so I was pretty panicked. I told my boss this and he basically told me - in a nice way - that his expectations were pretty low, so don't sweat it. Wow! Gee thanks.

The class actually went fine and now I get to palm off a far less appealing (2 day) training class to my co-worker as payback for having to cover for her. But even so, I was really happy when Shabbat came around this week, and spent a nice day with friends.

This has not been the case for the last several weeks.

Right after Shavuot a spiritual ennui set in and I've had a hard time trying to shake it. Last Shabbat found me seething with resentment for all the creative activities I couldn't pursue until after sundown. Of course I felt guilty for feeling that way, immediately spoiling any shred of joy left in the day.

It got me thinking about my time as a college bookstore manager. I was in charge of everything that wasn't a book (sweatshirts, school and dorm supplies, groceries, etc.) and I couldn't find a decent assistant to save my life. This was mostly due to the fact that I was not allowed to do my own hiring, but instead had a parade of dysfunctional sadsacks foisted on me.

Finally I discovered a very mature student who had a schedule that would work for this position, and lobbied for her to get the job. Everything was great until I had to leave for a trade show for 4 days.

I left her a list of maybe 20 items to work on while I was gone. I thought that she understood that I was not expecting her to finish everything on the list - just to work on as much as she could until I got back. The list was extra long so she wouldn't run out of things to do and would have work to assign to other students during that time.

Apparently that was not clear to her. She found the list completely overwhelming and gave up on the whole thing. When I got back to work I found out she had quit.

I find the list of mitzvot in Judaism and the restrictions for Shabbat completely overwhelming, however I do not want to give up on the whole thing. I don't want to lose what progress I've made over the last 8 months towards being more Shabbat observant, just because of a few setbacks.

So I guess what I'm saying is I'm fully committing to work on my list even though I may never be done.

Shavua Tov!

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