Saturday, May 07, 2005

66. Refiner's fire

Services this morning felt like I had been away for a lifetime, even though just two weeks had passed since the second day of Passover. On that morning, as on the one before, I chanted the the same aliyah that was my very first, Numbers 28: 16-26. (We also read it on the intermediate days minus verses 16-18, which say "this is the first day of Passover." OK to include this on day 2 but not 3-8, go figure.).

On the first day of Passover chanting felt like an insistent affirmation, restless and happy as a child stomping her feet in the sand. Singing would make everything OK. I was also immersed in the start of the holiday, up late at a seder the night before and wondering how I would stay awake for the longer one to follow. Anticipation trumped worry.

The second day was different. I knew that the next time I came to services I would either be free from fear, able to breathe again, or about to begin a journey through the most narrow of places. On the second day I chanted loudly and defiantly; no matter what stumbling blocks You choose to put before me, You can't take away my strength when I'm up here.

Knowing I'm fine is like the start of something new, even though nothing has really begun or ended. My weeks of worry were like the refiner's fire. My head was filled with the bass aria from Handel's "Messiah" in those days before the surgery, as well as the voice of the cantor singing Hallel:

Ana Adonai, hoshiah nah
Deliver us, Lord, we implore You

I don't yet know what's new. I hope I can figure it out.

2 comments:

Glory said...

I went through a similar "narrow place", I think, this past autumn, with a breast cancer scare. I love your defiant sentence about stumbling blocks.

So glad that you're fine. Hope you're not getting tired of me peeking in on your life, but I'm learning so much from you, and receiving such a blessing.

alto artist said...

Thank you so much. And, not tired at all--I'm honored that you want to keep peeking!
--aa.