When I stepped out my door this morning, the clouds were amazingly beautiful, traveling in arches across the sky from the sun in the East to an eruption of pink clouds in the West. I stood for a moment of wonder and awe at the lighting and the color . . .
And then I saw the Moon, which nearly always dissolves my ego and leaves me standing humbled at my own smallness . . .
Outside my door . . . a moment of grace to carry me through the day.
I took that picture Wednesday evening at the local park where my son meets another synagogue member to practice shofar for Rosh Hashanah services. It’s hard to believe Rosh Hashanah is only 16 days away! Between getting back into the swing of school (secular and religious) and planning/preparing for the Holy Days, the last month has flown by.
At some point in the next 16 days I need to spend more time assessing who I am, where I’m meeting my potential, and where I’m falling short — the annual Cheshbon HaNefesh, or accounting of the soul — so that I will be ready to re-set my priorities for the coming year. It’s not an easy task (and sometimes it’s not a fun task!!), but the only way we can improve is by being honest with ourselves about who and where we are today.
But that’s not a task for tonight!
Tonight I’m going to hit “pause” to stop everything that makes life hectic. I’m going to play Legos with my kids, race our remote control cars, and maybe take a walk. I’m going to order pizza for dinner and curl up with them to watch a movie or play a game. I’m going to stop “doing”… stop “trying”… stop “becoming”… and instead I’m just going to BE in each precious moment with them, and I’m going to truly enjoy them for who each of them is today.
If you’ve never tried hitting “pause” to share some time with those you love, I encourage you to try it. You just might find, as I have, the wisdom in Ahad Ha’am’s saying: “More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.”
I have been called to shed a skin many times–to change a perspective, an internal barrier that may once have protected me but now serves as a block to growth. I have been called to peel away a persona that simply does not fit the evolving truth of who I am. Ihave been called not once or twice, but many times to reconsider what I believe to be true, to strip away assumptions, to form a new skin, born of the raw materials of the old one, but somehow different. I have been called to get out of my way and allow newness and grandeur to emerge.
Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, The Dance of the Dolphin: finding prayer, perspective, and meaning in the stories of our lives, p.88 (Jewish Lights 2001).
This Shabbat, may each of us find the courage to let go of an assumption, to change our perspective, or to reconsider what we believe to be true . . . for though it can be terrifying to shed our “skin,” that shedding is the only way we can free ourselves from the confines of the past and open ourselves to grow into a future in which we are renewed over and over again, in grace and mercy, by the one and only infinite and eternal G-d . . .