For the second week in a row, I have found myself without any new reading material for Shabbos. Since those wintry Friday nights are so long, it’s a great pleasure of mine to curl up with a blanket and a book (and maybe some cookies). Lately, though, I’ve been stymied by my own lack of planning. The books I currently own are not enticing to me at the moment, and so I’ve felt a bit of anxiety, dread and impending boredom as I think about all the time I could be spending reading that I will be, well, not reading.
A curious thing has happened during these bookless weeks. Two curious things, really. The first one is that without the pressure of my overwhelming desire to read something stimulating or entertaining, I actually got down on the floor and played with my kids. That kind of active involvement has long been a struggle for me, and having a book to read has only perpetuated the challenge.
So yesterday, since I wasn’t engrossed in a book, I made a spectacular lego house with Little Man AND helped the baby stack some blocks (fine motor skills, here we come!). I arranged a playdate for Little Man with a neighbor boy. We looked at and discussed pictures from a big book of Monet’s artwork. I held the baby while he drank his bottle. We all got dressed before 9:30 a.m. (this is a major achievement for me on Shabbos). I also spent a good amount of time with at least one child on my lap. It was really, really satisfying.
The other pleasant surprise I experienced was finding out that I have great reading material in my house after all. Remember the parsha? Yeah, the one that happens every week? A long, long time ago (like, six years or so), a rebbetzin suggested that I read the parsha every week. That it would be good for me to stay connected with the what was going on in the Torah, especially after I had kids and wasn’t going to shul much (like right now). I took that to heart, I really did.
However, since I do have a compulsion to read something while eating, I ended up reading the parsha AND reading some of Rashi’s commentary, too (love that Sapirstein edition!). It was also really, really satisfying.
Am I going to be able to keep these two wonderful things going once I do remember to get some reading material? I sure hope so. I think it’s a great example of how a situation which could have really put me into a bad mood ended up with a fabulous outcome.
Have you experienced a situation that seemed dreadful and turned out to be good?