Sunday, September 11, 2011

Earth Etude for 14 Elul

I stepped into the nighttime garden half a continent away from my own home. I looked up at the stars – there just above the rooftop, in the same relationship to this roof as it had been to the roof of my own home a few nights earlier, hung the Big Dipper. Bemishmarotiehem ba’rakiya kiretzono. “In their arcs in the sky according to His will.” Words from the evening prayer service. I felt in my soul the solid constancy of the universe, knowing even as I felt this that it is changing. I, too, have changed.

A knock at the door the next afternoon brought the gift of reconnection – my best friend from early childhood! It must be 50 years since our friendship was torn apart by my family’s move. The joy of the hug we shared touched something deep in my soul and our brief conversation confirmed my heart’s knowledge that our friendship as little girls had been more than the coincidence of living on the same street.

I thought of the stars and the sense of constancy they had given me. Here, now, was another constancy, my sacred inner core, the part of me that had never changed, exhibited through the connection of kindred spirits and the knowledge that as little girls we had shared true friendship. The friendship I had lost had been rekindled with a single hug.

Bemishmarotiehem ba’rakiya kiretzono. Words that have been said for hundreds of years – constancy; stars – constancy; the inner sacred core of being – constancy; friendship – constancy. Life is about change, and even that is constant. Every year at this time, we focus on change, trying to be better people, trying to be closer to G!d. In this month of Elul, may the constancy of the stars, the words, my sacred self, and the connections between souls help me change, help me get closer to G!d.

Katy Z. Allen is the rabbi and spiritual leader of Ma'yan Tikvah.

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