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.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

04 Tishrei 5774: Wholeness

I am fascinated by the idea of wholeness. I think this is true because I have felt so broken for so long. It is a desire of my heart-- to feel whole. to be complete.

When I dance among the ladders with the angels, it is my brokenness that I carry with me. Like Luria's Light, I was whole once, and then shattered into an infinity of pieces. I couldn't possibly find all of those myriad pieces, let alone bring them back together, to the center (my center). No healing, no wholeness. Just brokenness. Forever.

It is no surprise that I live a very fragmented life. There are an infinity of boxes cluttering my head, gathering dust.  I stuff my shame and my sins in them, my less-than-ness and my fears. I lock them up tight, with rusty chains and bits of string and hide them into little-used and dusty corridors, where they lie in shadow under the flickering lights. All of them are stacked precariously, haphazardly with seemingly little thought to where they sit.

Trouble is, no matter how well I swear that I seal them, they leak. they seep and ooze and get all sticky and messy. Even my brokenness is broken.

So it was with no small amount of surprise, sitting in morning services last Shabbat, that I realizes that I this may no longer be quite so true. My brokenness may not be beyond repair. The dream of wholeness-- of completion and and connection-- they are meant for me. Even for me. I sat in that service, surrounded by friends and strangers, sound and light, prayer and benediction, I stood in this holy and sacred moment-- and I let go. And in that moment, when I gathered all my brokenness-- the moldy boxes and the jagged-edged slivers of glass, and released them all-- I was made whole.

And here's the thing, as I write this essay at 36,000 feet: I am not broken. I am whole. And this, I think, is always true. I think. I want to believe this.Just as we are always at the Gates, we are always redeemed-- we are always whole. It's all the stuff, all the boxes and frayed rope that we stack and store and carry with us that whispers to us (to me) of brokenness. I carry it with me; it is mine to give back.

For today, for this moment, I choose to put my brokenness aside, to breathe in wholeness and feel complete. For this moment, of lightness and freedom, I will dance in joyous wonder, in the palm of God's hand.

I offer this poem, written last February, in honor of the parasha Ki Tisa. While I know that there is holiness in broken things-- there is holiness and joy and freedom in wholeness, and for that I am grateful. 

The Holiness of Broken Things

I carry my brokenness with me
It is holy--
as holy as my breath,
my heart,
my wholeness.

It is a part of me, these
scattered pieces
of shattered longing
and battered dreams.
My sins.
All of them.
I carry them--
all of them;
All these broken things
that bend me and bow me,
together with my wholeness,
these holy things.
Idols to my shame,
wrapped in gold and
adorned in abandon.
I fed the fires of that sacred forge
with fear and guilt,
and the altars ran slick with salted tears.
I offered--
the broken pieces as
my sin offering,
for they are holy,
and I carry them with me,
together with my wholeness.

I carry my brokenness with me--
all my sins
and shame
and salted tears,
and I place them
together with my wholeness
on the sacred altars
holy, holy, holy.
They twine together in red and gold flames,
and Whole
offered together
and returned to me ,
and Broken--
Holy still,
carried together
until I reach the next altar.

There are several other pieces you can find on my blog that explore the topic of Brokenness; you can find them here: What I Brought  and my riff on Luria's midrashAn Early Winter's Tale