About Me

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I write, mostly to keep my head from exploding. It threatens to do that a lot. My blog is the pixelated version of all the voices in my head. I tend to dive into what connects me to God, my community, my family and my doubt. I do a lot of searching, not as much finding. I’m good with that. I have learned, finally, to live comfortably in the gray. In the meantime, I wrestle with God, and my doubt and my joy.

Friday, August 30, 2013

24 Elul 5773: End

I like to live in the Land of Forever.

You know that place, don't you? It's the place I go, when things go wrong. In the blink of an eye, my bags are packed, I'm pitching my tent and setting up permanent camp in a very bad neighborhood (where I regularly mug myself) that stretches from here to infinity. It is a place of brokenness and twisted, stunted weeds. It is vast and empty and lonely as hell. All roads lead there, though nothings gets out. It has no end, and no real beginning.

It is forever.

I have been there many times. It is the always the same: driven by my fear, I huddle in that vast and empty place, sure that it will always be this dark; I will always be this broken; i will always, always, always be this alone, world without end, amen.

I am so profoundly grateful that I can say that every time I have made this leap -- every single time, no matter how tightly I cling to this vision, no matter how sure I am that this time there will be no way back--  I have been wrong. The darkness ends. My brokenness heals.

This too shall pass. ever and always: this, too, shall pass.

There is no Land of Forever. It is the underlying gift of Elul and the coming Days of Awe: this, too, shall pass. There will be healing and grace and redemption.

Don't get me wrong-- it is not automatic, and not necessarily a quick sprint down the road. I have to act. I have to choose. I have to put one foot in front of the other. That road can be painfully long. I swear, there have been times that I've been dragged, kicking and screaming, so that there are deep scratch marks where my nails bit into the hard dirt of that road. As I've said: I am somewhat enamored of the drama of Forever.

This, too, shall pass.

Life, I have been shown, is not a linear thing. It is a spiral, a helix, a circular, circuitous road. I can wander this road, clinging desperately to the infinite strands of stuff that I carry with me. I can carry my pain and my sorrow from place to place. There are times that I do (though not quite so much these days, thank God). I can try to carry my joy as well, and cling to that just as hard.

It all passes, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. It passes and then returns, a fluid and graceful dance along the spiral. Just as I return, to stand before the gates, and ask for grace, for healing and forgiveness. The year ends and begins again, in a single breath, a single heartbeat, in the sound of the ram's horn. Ending and beginning, again.

For all the talk of endings, I am drawn back, as always, to the idea of God, who is, I believe, without end (Ein Sof). This is the poem I wrote to capture my relationship with the God of No End, originally posted September 10, 2012

there is not separation

there is God
whose spirit hovers
like breath
like life
twined and waiting

there is not beginning in this
and no end to this earth that touches
this heaven that laps at
this sea
that slips into
this darkness
that has no end
that is ein sof

there is not sound
in this endless beginning
no voice that calls
and dances on
liquid night
a canopy of eternity in the
midst of waiting

so expectant!
so lonely and eager a God
a wanting and endless God
whose breath is the sea
whose voice is the earth
whose touch is the heavens
who dances in darkness
and light
liquid as night
sharp as need
soft as desire

a separate thing altogether
a severing moment
in an eternity of moments
a division of earth that touches
heaven that laps at
the sea
that dances in spiral prisms
that limns each thing
each separate thing
of earth and heaven and sea
that is beloved of God
that breathes
and moves
and is still
and is gathered
and calls
each to each
one to another

to separate the
and find the edges of
to rim the world in an endless moment
a tidal moment
a gathering, waiting, and restless moment

and there will i dance
in the palm of God's hand
and then will i sing
an expectant psalm
an endless hosanna
a bursting and
rising song