the gregarious homebody

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Little Shalom in my Home

There is a idea in Judaism that I really loved when I learned about it in my adult bar mitzvah class a few years ago. This idea revolves around making sure the people in your life, specifically in your home, have comfort, that their happiness is paramount to something even as important as absolute truth. For instance, you might tell your spouse that you loooove the new shirt he bought you even if it's completely not your style. You recognize his intention in buying you something and keep the peace so as not to hurt his feelings. Or you let him ramble about something his mother said that completely annoys the crap out of you too, but you just listen because after all, she is his mother and he's the one that gets to say she's a jackass.

Now I am someone who believes in expressing myself (duh) and I'm someone who holds the truth dear. I hate lying (and tell my kids that lying about something they've done that was wrong is even more wrong than doing it). And I think that bottling up your feelings is uncomfortable at best and toxic at worst. But too much expressing can be toxic to the people who constantly find themselves hearing your expressiveness.

This philosophy, Shalom Beit, which literally translates as Peace in the Home, also extends to omissions of truth, to keeping things positive, in an effort to keep that peace.

Why the Judaism 101 lesson? Because lately I think I've been doing a LOT of ranting on my blog. Now, when I started this blog, the Important Person in my life understood that it would be mine, all mine. That it would be about my thoughts, my feelings, my stuff, my truth. And that if he was going to read it, he'd better be prepared. And he has been great about it. It's me that thinks that I've gone too far over to the negative place.

The blogs I love to read and do so daily are a real mishmash of categories. Some of my favorites are really homey and warm and fuzzy like this one. Others are sarcastic and cutting and really really funny like this one. It doesn't take a psychiatrist (although let's face it, maybe I could benefit from one's perspective) to understand that the reason for my liking these seemingly disparate blogs is because they're parts of both sides of my wacked-out personality. And I'm thinking that I'd better figure out how to express a combination of these two sides of me rather than let The Dark Side constantly win.

Two of my favorite bloggers manage really nicely to combine asserbic wit with a love of things like kids and canning and warm fuzzy socks. Finny and Jules, I take my hat off to you. They may mercilessly make fun of someone, but it's usually themselves. Or Finny'll throw f-bombs at the bugs and weeds in her garden instead of at some of the bugs and weeds in her family.

This year is going to be a big one for us, here at home. My baby boy is going into the final stretches of becoming a bar mitzvah and there are likely to be some challenges arising out of the planning and execution of this event. They don't call these crisis rites for nothing. And while I'm quite sure I'll be hurling some whoppers every once in awhile to get it off my fucking chest, I'm also hoping that there are a lot more fun stories to talk about without threatening my very own shalom.
behold, the bar mitzvah boy


Jules said...

Thanks for the shout out! Completely undeserved, but I am arrogant enough to take it without caring much about such a small technicality. ;) Good luck with the attempts at a more positive outlook. After 35 years, I think I almost have the hang of it.

jen said...

Apparently it's going to take me more than 38 years!

And you totally deserve the shout-out, toots.

Jozette said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out!! You know, I struggle with the same things. I try not to always be cutting and whatnot because sometimes I think if you don't know me, it doesn't translate, you know? I do try to be positive, I think about the whole karma thing and try to balance that with who I am and how my humor works. So, that all was to say 'i hear ya sister'.

PS - I don't think you are negative at all, I think you're hilarious. and REAL.

jen said...

Aw, Jozette. Shucks.


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