Are you grieving?
If you are, I want to tell you, me too. I want to breathe deep, but when I do send all that wonderful life to my heart and core—oof, the pain it enlivens—there are times of late that it groans out of me like a woman too tired from labor. I howl and feel more animal at times in my anguish.
I must breathe gently now, a little at a time. And, as always, the Breath keeps me. In Hebrew the words for breath are interchanged with life, and spirit, and soul.
In the Torah, Deuteronomy (Devarim) 4:15 has this incredible instruction, “watch over your life (breath) diligently…” Here it is the word, nephesh.
Our souls are so precious, within them the spark of the Divine, the Infinite, dwells. When we dwell intentionally here, there is not a lack of life, but a fullness of it, we feel so much, even grief. I have much to learn, but I know these times of depths we must be gentle with ourselves.
Breath/soul/life/neshamah is spoken of when Elohim breathed into Adam (Genesis/Bereshit 2:7),
“He breathed into him the breath (neshamah) of life, and Adam became a living soul.”
Breath is Life, with us — when we rise, when we sleep — always.
As the moon waned dark this month, so did I, though it was not intentional and I did not want it. I am glad for the moon and for its poetry as well as the poetry that others have created out of their pain before me.
The funeral pyre
Where I have laid my living body.
All the false notions of myself
That once caused fear, pain,
Have turned to ash
As I neared God.
What has risen
From the tangled web of thought and sinew
Now shines with jubilation
Through the eyes of angels
And screams from the guts of Infinite existence
Love is the funeral pyre
Where the heart must lay
― Hafiz, The Gift
As the moon’s lines slowly unveil again maybe I will keep time with it, or maybe I will simply watch and wait. It signals to us now of the changing season again, autumn coming and with it “the great feast” of tabernacles, the third and final pilgrim festival of the biblical calendar. In preparation for this renewed “going up”…the nights are softly lit, darker until they wax full to the holiest day of the year, the day of covering—an appointed time to bask in what the poetry of the Torah tells us is true; His banner over us is love.
From covering to covering we travel, exposed, and often feeling alone. These are the days to remember we are not alone. I am remembering with you. I am not alone, with you. You are not alone, with me. My prayer is that we would be nurtured in our grief, that even our tears would water our ground. In this hope, I am letting it out. Part of that is sharing it with you, part of it is private, part of it is reaching out to friends and family, and going for walks and long drives. What does it look like for you?
September 10, 2021, this fourth day of the new year 5782 and the ten days of awe and returning, we are together, we are alive. For today, it is enough, even as we weep.
I’m writing through the days of awe, I missed yesterday but…
first post here: “may you know you are held”,
second post here: “may you know flight”.
Subscribe if you’d like these to arrive in your inbox.
Hoping to sit by the river for my next entry here, it’s been awhile since I shared that with you. Meet me at the water?
A song that has been a blessing to me this week, for you: Let it Out, by Christa Wells
One more song that I hope washes truth over you like that gentle moonlight tonight: Pacific, also by Christa Wells (I’m kind of a fan 🙂 ) If you are hurting tonight I wish I could go for a walk in the rain with you, hoping this song stands a bit in my stead.
The verse you shared from Deuteronomy made me think of two verses the Lord has brought to mind in the past few days…”Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life.” and…
“9How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to Your word.
10With all my heart I have sought You;
do not let me stray from Your commandments.
11I have hidden Your word in my heart
that I might not sin against You.
12Blessed are You, O LORD;
teach me Your statutes.
13With my lips I proclaim
all the judgments of Your mouth.
14I rejoice in the way of Your testimonies
as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on Your precepts
and regard Your ways.
16I will delight in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word. (From Psalm 119)
I was thinking of “Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life.” while I was writing too Rebekah, great connection. Shabbat shalom to you.
I am a black woman grieving the impact of slavery, Jim-crow laws, and systemic racism. Not as it has touched me, but how it threatens my children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. It is an insidious monster lurking in the shadows watching and waiting for an opportunity to devour them whole. Even more disparaging is the realization that evangelicals for the most part are in step with this horror. My screams of pain are so deep they cannot be uttered or heard. They seem to come from the marrow of my bones, yet unable to escape they remain trapped in an unending cycle. The song that ministers to me is, “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle. I hope you like it, too.
Oh sister, thank you for sharing that here. There are many of us here who will listen that you did, who cry over that pain in your bones and are so thankful you gave voice to it, and want to be a part of the healing that must must come. I’ll go listen to the song now, thank you for that too. I love you Paulette. I will act and pray, you are not alone. God bless and keep your children, grandchildren, greats and beyond.
Dear one, from the depths of my pain I thank you. I could feel every word of your response as though applied to my soul in a comforting balm. Such a blessing you are. Such a messenger of God’s love. Such a treasured friend. Thanks also to those I’ve never seen or met, but are praying just the same. You are the very fragrance of heaven. Much love to you.
…goodness this heals and relieves me, bless you Paulette, thank you for taking the time to write me back. So much love…I receive it from you.
the moment that breathes eternity – STAY, in the Breath
[…] the Writings (Proverbs/Mishle 20:27) it says the breath, the neshama I wrote of a few days ago, of humankind is the light of Hashem, and that it is searching our innermost parts, our […]