(Interrupting the story yet again.)
I led services again tonight. It was the eighth time--and it did feel like the beginning of something, a new week that comes after the close of the seventh day. We were at the synagogue, a little emptier now because so many people are out of town for Passover. I was with a different rabbi this time (we have four, an embarrassment of riches). We didn't face the Ark for the second half of the service, the action that so unnerved me when I last led at the synagogue. I asked why; the rabbi said he feels cut off from the congregation when he does this, unable to make eye contact. I agree.
I got to the Secret Rabbi Room a little early this time. As usual, no one else arrived until 5:55 (through the Secret Rabbi Staircase at the far end of the room, so they don't have to walk through the congregation to get there). I sat by myself in silence and calm for ten minutes, knowing something good was about to happen. There is no better feeling.
I wasn't nervous, even though I was a little hoarse and very tired. I was secure enough about what I had to do that I could pray, and focus on the meaning of the words rather than how they were coming out of my mouth. Again, I felt everyone holding me up, making it possible for me to stand and sing.