The Anatomy of a Sabbath Meal

Lydia Millen via Pinterest.

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Happy Sabbath to any and all who may be reading this shortly after my posting. Sabbath is characterized as a day of rest. In my words, a huge sigh of relief.

Work has been all too consuming lately (but grateful for it), but all of the recent commotion, tensions and transitions have made me long for more time to organize myself and my home, specifically. (Maybe it’s the change of season? I love a deep seasonal clean). The other day, I stayed up late bringing down my sweaters from the closet and putting away my summer garments. It was one of those now-or-never moments. I didn’t have my sweaters, and it was 39F. I had put it off enough because I couldn’t find a window of time where I would just be free to do the whole ordeal.

Just like seasonal changes, Sabbath rest requires preparation. Since I was a child, I was in the routine of cleaning, and then we would make/eat dinner. When I was in Florida, I would clean and then often make a simple Italian dinner (usually, ravioli). In law school, I don’t know what the heck I ate. Maybe those box Indian meals that were so spicy I had to eat them over the course of days. (I was an idiot). Maybe cereal? I think once sundown happened, I would just pass out on my futon from exhaustion, surrounded by open law textbooks. Lately, I feel sort of out of a routine. My cleaning day differs, and I don’t always eat dinner (because I am not hungry).

Maybe it’s because I live alone or because I am a woman, but sometimes, falling short of my own expectations gives me a little twinge of guilt. I would say anxiety, but it’s more like guilt. I want to wipe down every last shelf and dust every blind. Meh. None of that happened today.

Lydia Millen, my inspiration for the home.

Women, a lot is expected of us. And that’s not to say it isn’t good or enjoyable. Hell, I wish I was a Lydia Millen type. (I admire her a great deal). She is lovely. Impeccably dressed– always, even at home. She makes chutney and puts it into little sanitized jars to gift to people (probably tied with a gorgeous ribbon, because she is Lydia Millen). Her home is always put together. Her dog, always cute. This woman is a brand. And a beautiful one. This is a compliment paragraph to Lydia Millen. I love her and all she stands for. She exudes a gorgeous femininity. She is #goals.

So, I have been thinking… what do I need to do to get there? And this is not in jealousy but aspirational– you know, like Goop. (I am not a jealous person. I like to think of all people have done as inspiration not aggravation). I need the comeback of the routine– maybe a go-to meal; A new cleaning day that isn’t Friday, so I don’t feel like trash when I walk in, drop my bag and dive, nose first, into the couch.

I got home today, twinged with some familiar light guilt. A list of everything I left undone. My mother and Liz had to talk me out of a legalistic meltdown. I opened Instagram one last time and saw that sister Bonnie Gray had tagged me in a post. Bonnie Gray is an incredible author I did an interview with. I will link it here. She wrote Sweet Like Jasmine. My author interview was different with her. We clicked. She wasn’t arrogant, and she didn’t distance herself, like some do, when I do these interviews. She was warm, authentic and made space for me, too. Back to the post– she wrote in the caption, “Don’t neglect yourself. Take care of yourself, beloved. You’re worthy of beauty. You’re worthy of love. When you feel weary, rather than push yourself harder, ask yourself– what feels beautiful, peaceful or joyful to you?” It continued, but you get the gist. I sat there, and acknowledged the all too familiar feeling we all feel at one time or another, men and women. We sometimes find ourselves feeling inadequate or falling short of what we hoped, but it’s ok. Sabbath never demands perfection from us. It isn’t like those etiquette classes where you see the instructor measuring the distance between plates and cups and cutlery. No, Sabbath is a gift and an invitation to rest.

Jesus said, Come, and I will give you soul rest, as Bonnie Gray said.

So, what is the anatomy of a Sabbath meal? The truth is I am not sure yet. (I know, I am sorry. Made it all the way to the end, only to see I’ve got nothing). I am still figuring it out. Today, I sat on the couch and ate some ravioli, for old times sake. Next week, my space will be neater and more prepared. Someday, I will be able to run a household like Lydia Millen. (Lydia, if you read this, I am such a fan). But today? Today, I am just going to sit here and stare at the wall with my candle burning. And for today, that is more than enough.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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