Monday, September 3, 2012

How Often Have I Ended Before The End?

“A decision is nothing more than the creation of a picture that you decide to make stick.” 
Ginny Mancini from Jewels of Elul

This month of Elul I’m studying a few of the daunting High Holiday prayers that in past years have caught me unprepared and overwhelmed me. I’m guessing the liturgy of most religions has prayers designed to scare the crap out of you. The Jewish prayer book for the High Holidays sure does.

Un’taneh Tofef, a prayer of rhythmic almost hypnotic poetry sung to a haunting melody begins calmly enough, “And let us acknowledge the power of this day’s holiness...” and before long moves into the question of “Who will live and who will die,” and a litany of ways to do it: who by fire and who by water, and who by warfare, wildlife, hunger, thirst earthquake, plague, strangling, stoning and more. Then, not yet half way through the prayer comes the line, “Who at their end and who not at their end.” Often I stop hearing anything beyond this.

In the year that is soon to be over, 5772 on the Jewish calendar, in what ways have I come to end a friendship, a possibility, or a creative act, because I don’t know what more to do? How often have I made a decision that is nothing more than the creation of a picture I’ve decided to make stick? How often have I ended before the end? 

Baruch ata adonai please help me to stop killing off parts of myself through doubt, unease, fear or the unwillingness to work through difficult times. Help me to be courageous and willing to stay with and experience the challenges of life without ducking out at intermission. Thank you. Amen

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