On my flights back from the Glen, I flipped through my notepad from the week and made a list of books that I needed to read. A few days later, I went to our excellent used book store and attempted to find many of those books. I left the store with seventeen books. Four from the list. Thirteen that were similar/had been mentioned but weren’t on the list/looked interesting. I really only stopped because I couldn’t carry any more.
One of the ones I found from the list was a book called Miriam’s Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich, which is about the author’s journey to keeping a kosher kitchen, especially as she observes her mother-in-law, Miriam. Ehrlich, who considered herself to be culturally Jewish, began to realize that the reason that she felt comfortable not keeping kosher or being observant was that she had grown up in that environment. They were part of who she was, providing her with a foundation. She felt that she needed to provide that foundation for her own children to later accept or reject as they chose, so she began taking small steps towards observing holidays and keeping kosher. So that her children might feel the generations in their bones.
Building a foundation seems terrifying if you look at the big picture. Mike and I have different interests than our families did. Atticus will be surrounded by different influences than we were, just as we were shown a different way than our parents had grown up with. With each plank in the floor, Ehrlich found that giving her children a place to stand also made her more sure-footed.
Over the past year and a half, I have come to see that the importance is in the foundation, not in the details. As I work out the details, I find that it is easier to offer Atticus a place to put his feet. I read and study and pray and sing. Word by word, step by step. I build for myself, and I build for him.
On Fridays, I talk about what is saving my life. What is saving your life this week?