I must admit that I've been feeling creatively dry lately. Lots of ideas, no inclination to sit down and write. As a rebuke, perhaps, mysterious forces of nature made me knock my laptop off a table this morning. It seems to be working, but nothing shows up on the screen except a spirit-like white miasma. Hopefully the nice folks at the Apple store can bring it back to life. oy.
Meanwhile, a few weeks ago I decided to hang a piece of fabric on my bedroom wall. I removed the mirror that was hanging there and propped it up on the floor against a bookcase. Immediately my cat sat himself down right in front of it, and spent the next 15 minutes staring contentedly at his handsome face. (He has no problems with self-esteem.) I thought of this at Friday night services when the rabbi, speaking about Parashat Shelah Lekha, noted how the spies were sure they were seen by the giant inhabitants of the Negev as small and weak: "...and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, so we must have looked to them." (Deuteronomy 13:33) Therein lies the problem: if you assume you're powerless, then you can't even imagine the possibility of change. My cat happens to lead a perfect life, but if he didn't--with such confidence in his own image, he surely would accomplish wonders. (As it is, he wages a constant and successful campaign for food.)
This week the rabbi spoke of the link between Miriam and water, and how her death signaled both a literal and spiritual drought in the community. (Deuteronomy 20:1: "Miriam died there and was buried there. 2: The community was without water, and they joined against Moses and Aaron.") We are, perhaps, in this same kind of dry time as a country. Until we find a new water-bearer--soon, I hope--we have to remember more than ever that we're not grasshoppers. Maybe not giants, either, but a people capable of honest, ethical, creative growth, and of helping others grow, as well.
(Meanwhile, I have to learn that my laptop isn't all that powerful. I hope it's still alive.)