Wednesday, November 01, 2006

397. Keep going

In the spirit, if not the letter, of NaBloPoMo (because I can provide quite enough pressure on my own, thank you), I hope to follow this November 1 post with another, and so on for the next 30 days. Or not. But at least I've started, the hardest part. This week's parasha is Lekh Lekha, which has become a kind of benchmark for me. Just when I think the High Holy Day soul-searching marathon has ended, Lekh Lekha reminds me of that Shabbat morning when, intoxicated by my new awareness of a benevolent universe, I listened to the rabbis talk about God's order to Abraham: Go. Go out of yourself, don't just sit there. I was astonished at their ability to get into my head and say what I needed to hear. I did go, blindly at times, and am in amazement of some of the places I've stumbled upon since that day.

This Lekh Lekha I need another reminder to keep going, not be afraid, not be lazy, and trust that the journey itself will provide answers--as long as I pay attention. Writes Rabbi David Hoffman of JTS (not yet posted to the website, but soon to be here):

...What happens when we are asked to put aside our personal histories and all the narratives from our past that, perhaps, keep us imprisoned? What happens when we are simultaneously asked to give up the scripts that we have written about our futures? “I thought I would be a partner at this point in my life. I thought my children would be….I thought I would be ready for retirement. I thought I would be married.” We all have scripts from our pasts and for our futures....

I submit that this is one of the challenges that Abraham’s life offers us. Can we put down our scripts for ourselves, our families, and children and be present, really present for our lives and the people we love?

Abraham’s life suggests that this is the key to our ability to most acutely see and appreciate all the great blessings God has given each one of us.

We did walking meditation at a class tonight, the mindful placing of one foot in front of the other with no defined destination. The goal was simply to keep moving. Yet when we stopped, we had certainly reached somewhere new. Ma norah ha makom hazeh, how awe-filled is this place; God was here but I knew it not, says Jacob--perhaps this new, unplanned place was the goal all along.

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