And here's another one of those 10-minute exercises from a few weeks ago. Topic: "Covered by God."
I was a little nervous—it had been over a year. That afternoon I practiced words I already knew in my sleep, just in case a bolt of lightning happened to strike right before services and made me forget them. But once I walked into the little room behind the bima and hugged the musicians "Shabbat Shalom," I knew they would surround me like a pile of pillows, absorbing my prayers and carrying them gently throughout the sanctuary just as they had on Yom Kippur. I heard my notes weave in and out of theirs as the rabbi's voice traded with mine and we held each other aloft. The sound seemed to be clasped in the hands of the congregation and then handed carefully back to us to make new notes and prayers. I forgot who I was.
The key was a little too high but I climbed up just the same, sure someone would catch me. I took a deep breath and reached the highest note, "Hagibor," the Mighty--and wanted to dance on top of the mountain, but came down, wistfully, as a sweet 12-year-old made kiddush while I rested on the sidelines from my journey.