Friday, September 19, 2008

Elul 19, 5768

Do not hide Your face from me;
do not thrust aside Your servant in anger;
You have ever been my help.
Do not forsake me, do not abandon me,
O God, my deliverer.
Though my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will take me in.
Psalms 27:9-10


I sit in the quiet of my study, looking out on our neat green lawn shaded by huge maples and sycamore, the late afternoon sun hides behind the trees casting shadow across the yard. But it is not the sun that hides from me, any more than it is G-d that hides from us. Both the sun and G-d are there, hidden by the things that get between us.

It is easy to sit here, my work done for the evening, no children demanding my attention, my husband and dog out for their evening walk, and write about faith and practice. But most of the time life is not like that, most of the time the forest of our responsibilities to family and work, and the thicket of modern distractions (television, Internet) plunge us into shadow where the divine is hidden from us.

Human beings are often faithless and desert us, as the Psalm says even our father and mother may abandon us. It is hard for us to imagine that there is a force, a presence in the universe that is more constant, that is always there to be sought out.

It's easy for me to recognize the divine spark in the world as I drive to and from work -- looking out over our deeply wooded hills. It's the hours in between during which I have problems, and yet when I most need to be mindful of the divinity, to see past the shadows and the trees.

My most frequent sins, are the sins of impatience and intolerance with people who don't "get" things as quickly as I think they ought, who don't listen and don't read, and don't pay attention, who hold a piece of paper with big bold print that says "this test is due on..." and ask me "when is this test due?" This is really bad in a teacher. It is a form of arrogance and pridefulness. I have achieved the first stage of t'shuva -- I recognize these sins and regret them. I haven't yet found the way to successful break this habitual sins. I need to find a better way to interject a moment of reflection between the thought and the heedless action (the sharp tongue, the harsh tone).

1 comment:

Jessica G said...

If you find anything to help with sharp tongues and harsh tones...let me know. Myself and a handfull of other mothers can't seem to find a way to take a step back and breathe.