I got blood in my Pointe shoe for the first time in a long time. ( In the amateur ballet world I get a high five for this) What this means is that I’m back to my old self, strong and dancing my heart out. May 31st I have an appointment to take a picture of my guts and see if that womb is strong enough to carry a person in. I feel pretty good about it.
In other news I talked 17 people into sitting around a giant table with me and pretending to be Jewish. We said all the prayers, and danced the hora, and ate the bitter herbs and I did some singing. Singing is not my deal, but it has to be done because you know…tradition. It was the most spacious Seder I’ve ever hosted in 15 years of being Jew-Ish.
“Even the most bitter of circumstances can be sweetened by the hope we have in God” That’s what we say when we eat the make-you-cry-strong horseradish (hand horsed this year!) mixed with the sweet date apple honey wine dip, almost a chutney really. I generally find this to be a deeply rooted truth in my life. (After all I have HOPE tattooed on my ribs.) I have been wrestling with the problem of pain and provision of redemption for years now.
On 9-11-01 I lived outside Philadelphia with a lovely Jewish and Protestant family as th nanny to their 5 and not yet one year old kids. I remember watching the news that day, asking God “where are you” and immediately having a voice inside me say “I’m right there, with them”. At first it feels comforting to think that our pain is met with compassion and empathy from our creator. That there is an ever present help in time of need. For me, the next feeling is “can’t you do something?” “rescue them” “rewind time and stop this tragedy from happening”.
Keeping the Passover each year reminds me of this family, who passed these traditions on to me. Of the children saying the prayers and singing the songs and asking the questions. It was one of the most formational years of my faith. This is sacred joy and also a deep sorrow. In July 2013 the day I became engaged to my groom, also my birthday, the boy whom I took care of in that family ended his life. He would have been 21 this March. I have never written about this before, and I already feel that this post is getting to be longer than you nice people want to read. But I have a little more to say.
I asked God the same question. Perhaps many of you have asked similar questions when faced with your own sorrows, “Where are you God?” Same response in a millisecond inside my self, I knew that God was there on that bridge with Daniel. I don’t know what that means? I don’t know why He didn’t find someone to talk him out of it, or otherwise rescue my little man. I will ask everyday if there was something I could have said, or done to help him out of that dark place. The problem of pain is a very real problem.
I’m wrestling with it daily, some days hourly. I fall short of being the best friend I can be, I don’t pick up the phone enough, I don’t say thank you as much as I could, I don’t always tell you how important you are to me. I have a bone to pick with my creator about letting that pernicious and pervasive darkness creep into Daniel’s being. But you know what? I’m picking that fight with my God. I’m asking hard questions and not settling for pat answers that do not satisfy my need for explanation.
I’m keeping the Passover. I’m eating the bitter herbs and remembering, I’m washing my friends hands at the table, I’m holding unswervingly to the Hope I profess. My expectation is that God will be my God. That is what I demand of God, that He Be My God! I am not, can not be my own God. If you have hard questions please ask them, please wrestle with darkness. Call me, because I will join you. The God i serve is not small and frightened by my questions and doubts and fears. I believe He welcomes them, because authentic relationship is what results. He is worth fighting for. And guess what, so are you.
I have included this picture of friends at brunch helping me unpack my thoughts, and letting me cry into my bloody mary. Friends are good. So good.