Beliefnet

1201010susanblogOld habits die hard. Good news if you have a good habit. Not so good if it’s a bad one. Twenty years ago, I got into the habit of going to synagogue every Saturday morning. I was personally invited by the Rabbi of my new synagogue to come to services. “Come just once a month.” He said. I tried it, I liked it, and once a month turned into every week. You become part of a very close community when you’re a regular. You find yourself sitting in the same seat every week. You form friendships with the other regulars who sit in your row, the row in front and the row in back. This is how it happens: worship becomes your new good habit.

Six years ago I made a switch from my first synagogue home to another. The new synagogue is affiliated with the Jewish Reform movement, and the habit is to have community worship on Friday nights. Not only did I have a Saturday morning worship habit, but I also had an eighteen year Friday night family Shabbat dinner habit that I did not want to break. I compromised. I attended Friday night services once a month and joined the small prayer group that met on Saturday mornings. A few years into that routine, the prayer group broke up. I made myself comfortable crashing the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service that took place in the main sanctuary; except in the summer, when thirteen year old kids go away to camp. The sanctuary is empty on Saturdays mid-June through early August and I scrounge around for a place to pray.    

That’s how I found myself on a Saturday morning, doing Pilates under a magnificent blue sky in the 85° heat with my daughter and a hundred other fitness worshippers. It was heavenly. My mind, body and spirit came together. I took the time to be in the moment. I lost myself to the discipline of the exercise, nature and God. I prayed while I strengthened my core; I breathed in though my nose and out through my lips to feel the soul I share with God in every Pilates breath. I looked over at the mat next to me and I exchanged a loving smile with my daughter who brought me to this place. I’m glad she invited me to break my Saturday morning habit.

Reflections

I look in the mirror and see a jumble of flaws.
Please, help me see myself as You see me:
Perfect. Whole. Capable.
Help me to view my defects as potential,
my awkwardness as a different beauty.
Prevent me from self-harm,
and from habits that bring me shame.
Help me to accept myself as I am,
just as You do,
with limitless kindness and forgiveness.

-Lori Strawn

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