Still Dating. Desperate To Go Steady.

It’s ten of 10.  Shabbat services begin in 10 minutes but I’m still in my husband’s bathrobe.  I’m not going.

Maybe it’s pride.  Maybe it’s fear.  Maybe it’s fatigue.   Maybe I’m acting like a petulant 5-year-old.  But I’m not going.

My search for a Jewish home in Seattle has proven to be a lot of work.  And the response, or lack thereof, for today’s chosen congregation, has me feeling a little demoralized and a little beaten down.  I feel like I’m dating.  I suppose I sort of am.

I decided to “try out” services at a Jewish “co-op” in  my neighborhood.  The group meets just once a month for Saturday morning minyan.  Their address is not listed on the website.  Instead, I was “invited” to send an email requesting their location.

I did that earlier this week.  I did not receive a response.

I’m pretty sure I know where the group rents space, because I’ve seen their sandwich board inside of the church up the hill.  But the lack of response left me feeling less than welcomed.

I spoke to my cousin about the situation this morning. (He attends a different congregation that I’ve been flirting with — attending Torah study, occasional services and meeting with one of the rabbis.)  He said the co-op’s approach — including the lack of address — is intentional.  You aren’t supposed to just “show up.”  You are supposed to be “invited,” as it were.

And I wasn’t invited.

For years, the organized Jewish community has cried out, “We  are losing Jews.  No one is affiliating — joining up.”  And here I am — trying to show up.  “Hineni — I am here.”

It felt like I was calling into a well.

I made that same call — here I am — a number of years ago when I was living in Chicago.  And it was met by the heart of a kind teacher.

We studied together for my conversion to Judaism. (I am an adoptee.  Raised a Jew, but not born one.)  His gentle prodding encouraged me to join Torah study and worship services.  To be a part of.  He told me I couldn’t be a Jew alone.  He was right.

But this morning, I am a Jew alone — waxing nostaligic about my “ex” congregation.  Tomorrow I will not be.  I have a “date” with a women’s Torah study group.

Still dating.  Desperate to go steady.

If my years of dating taught me anything, I’ll find my beloved when I stop looking.  And then wonder why I couldn’t just enjoy dating.



About LesleyPearl

I am. A massage therapist. A teacher. A writer. A healer. A dancer. An artist. A bodysherpa. For 10 years I made my living telling other people’s stories — as a reporter, and then, later, as a public relations and marketing professional. Today I help people rewrite their own body stories. Much as I have rewritten mine. My body story read: Fat. Uncoordinated. Sickly, facing a life of respiratory problems. In my 40s, I’ve completed a bike century and sprint triathlon. Hiked the hills of California, Colorado and the South of France. Mountain biked through the Sierra Madre. Snow shoed at Yosemite. And maintained a healthy weight for eight years. Lately, I spend Sunday mornings dancing to West African drumming. I look in the mirror and I like what I see. I believe that when you change how you feel about your body, you change what you can do with your body. And the universe opens with infinite possibilities. As a self-named bodysherpa, I’ve built a practice with the express purpose of helping people to fall in love with their bodies, take care of their bodies and do things they never imagined possible. My blogs are a further exploration of accepting myself for who and how I am at this very moment.
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5 Responses to Still Dating. Desperate To Go Steady.

  1. Lisa K-C says:

    Enjoying the dating sounds so familiar to enjoying the journey and in the journey is where it seems to me the real message is. My beloved is all around me but how difficult it is to stop looking for that one right person, thing, answer, messiah. I truly believe everything is in Divine Order right now and every road I travel or every date I have is exactly as it should be. Thank you for sharing your journey, it helps me remember that my journey isn’t always going to be clear and concise.

  2. bodysherpa says:

    You sound further along on the road to acceptance than I, dear Lisa. I appreciate your words, guiding the way.

  3. Jonathan says:

    When I was in a place where I needed healing and belonging more than I even knew, I came across a congregation that welcomes newcomers by immediately putting them to work. Can you be an usher? Can you do the reading? Prayers of the people? Will you be on the service committee? etc.etc. The beauty of that small gathering was that they were immediately able to connect people together by drawing upon their gifts.

    Eventually I became a teacher and a follower and learned that the only way I can connect to God is through the community around me of fellow searchers. It was a powerful lesson that spirituality is not the practice of an individual, but a joint effort of the committed.

    When we moved to Wisconsin,I had to beg and insist to be a part of the church on our block. They generously welcomed me as an audience member, a listener, a consumer of their message, but it was hard to be a participant, a doer, a co-member. I ended up teaching a class where only three people attended.

    And then I quit.

    Sometimes good will isn’t enough. It’s that special fit between gifts and needs. Finding that space is hard. You found it in Chicago and were blessed for it. I hope you find it in Seattle. (I never did in Wisconsin).

    There’s hope, of course, so don’t give up.

  4. Kelly Standing says:

    You have a gift with words, my now-distant-but-still-close friend. You have a STANDING invitation to walk faithfully with me. My sandwich board beckons you on the cyber sidewalk. … And I find it simultaneously sad and amusing (and ultimately forgivably human) that any congregation thinks it can leave ANYone out of the God conversation.

  5. bodysherpa says:

    Kelly, thank you for your STANDING invitation. Jonathan, your story is both powerful and painful. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. It’s interesting to me that the premise of the co-op is that EVERYONE has to be involved. It’s not enough to just “show up.” I will pray to remain open.

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