Sunday, May 31, 2009

Full Life, Full Cup

How dare I even complain? I haven't even enough worry to fill a thimble, when you compare to all that I am given.

Sparkly, shiny Shavuot! How you pull at my heart. What a blessing to find you, hidden here amongst the holidays, celebrations and fasts. Ticking of time and passing of signs... I always did miss you. Maybe I wasn't ready. Like the newly-freed slaves weren't ready.

I woke up this morning hearing Cantor Bortnick's voice in my head, from the Shirei Shabbat on Friday night. I wasn't planning on going, having just been there in the morning for Shavuot services. But I had had enough of work and bolted at quarter after five. "Heal us and we shall be healed. Save us and we shall be saved." The first lines of the prayer for -- you guessed it -- healing, of body and mind. It's one I stutteringly recorded months ago for a friend in Hebrew. I've been saying it a lot recently over my ankle. In English and in the Cantor's unique timbre it sounds even better.

I had decided on Friday that I'd check out a different synagogue on Saturday morning. Having just heard the Women of the Bible concert with the four Reform Cantors (all female) from the area, I had a little more information in my pocket about where to go. I intended to go to Cantor Boxt's Temple Emanuel, but they weren't having services. So I went to Northern Virginia (I know, crossing the river!) to Rodef Shalom. I still don't know what Rodef means. Yikes! I looked at the root which points to being chased or pursued. WTF?

Anyway, the building was magnificent, really. With a sort of woodsy, of the earth feel... lots of giant wood beams and plenty of glass. They have a gift shop that makes WHC's look like an airport kiosk. Their library looks very municipal, but they've got videos and it looks like much cooler stuff in it. (Why did I not know Frida Kahlo was Jewish?) Big reception hall with the requisite dude setting up tables. A small group was meeting in the library before services, clearly a Torah study group which wasn't advertised on the website. They also use the NEW Reform prayerbook which frankly is reason enough for me to go. I'd really like to get more familiar with that. They were more casual than WHC in some ways, and more formal in others. I can see that they'd be a big competitor, if that's possible... and I'm sure it is. One of the largest congregations with a female Senior Rabbi. Excellent Cantor, but Bortnick has the voice that sounds like home.

Plenty of "wow" moments as I looked around this synagogue. A handful of ho-hums, and at least one "huh?" moment. Overall I just really enjoy sampling other congregations, seeing how they do things.

Okay so that's morning. Afternoon I putz around at home... I eat at home not out, because I know later I'll be going out to see Terminator and money will surely be spent then. I nap. I wake, and putz and drive and greet and roll some dice then we get on our way. Movie -- ticket issues and minor anxiousness but we settle down front long before the actual movie starts. Totally excellent ride, this movie. Had me shrieking like the girly girl I am. Big explosions. Wicked machines. What more could you want from the big screen, when you don't really want to think too hard?

Spontaneous dinner at a nearby bizarre Asian buffet: shellfish galore, weird desserty things, California rolls, and everything else you can think of.

You know? It's just one good thing after another. My cup, surely, overflows.

And yet, wisps of sadness cloud my eyes. Why? Who knows. Projecting, probably. Investigating, this hole in my ankle, and elsewhere. Tiny missing parts. I wonder about the Source of Hole Fullfillment and I wonder.

I know, I know my lot is full of grace. Let me not pretend that this life is not truly easy, even with its complications. Life must have texture, yes? Careful not to slice yourself on it.


  1. "Life must have texture, yes?" Aye...there's the rub - figuratively and literally.

  2. God—I mean, er, G-d—how I love your writing. You are such a source of peace and joy for me. You don't even know. Use that as spackle for the tiny holes, sweet one.

  3. Spell God however you like, Jenny. Sometimes I spell it B-O-O-G-E-R.