I have no idea if I spelled that correctly, but my dear friends next door are celebrating the Jewish New Year. As my eldest is Jewish, she asked if she could celebrate too, and of course they agreed. I let her go alone, but wandered over later to pick her up. Because it was fancy, I changed out of my jeans and Super-girl t-shirt(I have an assortment of superhero t-shirts), into something much more presentable. I even put on make-up. And high heels! Once the grown-ups noticed that I was there(I played peek-a-boo with a 15 month old for about 5 minutes first), they pressed food and drink on me. So of course I had to accept! After all, it's very rude to turn down hospitality! It was an interesting experience to be part of a celebration presented in a language I speak very little. Russian is somewhat similar to other languages I speak, so there are some words I know or can at least figure out. I also have picked up a couple of words, so that helped too. But for the majority of the speeches, I just sat there and let the language flow over me. It was a different feeling. I didn't feel excluded, as those families are dear friends. But it was an important moment of understanding how my friends with limited English feel. I hope that as a family we convey a sense of friendship and inclusion across those language barriers.
Eventually I retrieved my daughter and headed home. After putting her to bed, I began to chat with another friend who had arrived just as I went to get Aris. She stayed for quite awhile, but it was a good visit. We chatted about many things, some of them hard. Her family is walking through a very hard time, so I listened, encouraged and inquired as to how best to serve them. Before she left, Steve and I prayed for her.
As I was writing this, the significance of the juxtaposition hit me. I celebrated with one friend and then mourned with another. Sometimes, we lose the balance of friendship. It can be easier to only celebrate with a friend, or only want to hear the negative because of jealousy. As a Christian, I'm exhorted to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. This year I want to walk alongside my friends whether they are mourning or rejoicing. Just please don't invite me over if you're contagiously sick, because I really want to stay healthy!