I had been ready for the weekend. I had been glad it was Friday night. But I had never been glad for Shabbat itself.
Part of it may have been because I worked hard last week. It may have been because I was sick but feeling better. It was almost certainly because I had arrived at Carrie's home for another of her wonderful Shabbat meals.
But that was one of those wonderful moments when I really felt Jewish. On the drive to Carrie's, I realized that it was dark and technically Shabbat already, and I felt more relaxed. But once those candles were lit, I really started to feel it. Rest. Shabbat rest. A real, definitive separation between worktime and holy time.
It was beautiful.
I'm not going to lie, though. I did work only hours later, cleaning up after the party had subsided. But even that had a sense of peace about it, because it seemed a part of the dinner, a part of the evening, a part of Shabbat.
I hope I feel that again this week. And the week after that. And every week.