Shouldn’t I Feel Only Delight?

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My last post was about how, in conflict situations, I need to hold and honor the Truths of opposing parties in order to lead them toward a healthy resolution.  If I had only read my last blog, I could have saved myself some confusion.

As I sit and write this, I look up and stare out at one of my favorite places on earth.  Right now, I see in front of me only fog and a faint rustle of the bushes in front of our rented house.  I feel the warmth of my daughter’s sleepy body as she snuggles against me and the happy whispers of my husband and son in the other room.  A quiet so deep it dampens my every cell settles on the earth, and I can hardly imagine there is a single spot in the world where someone might suffer, where someone might fear, where someone might mourn.

And, at the very same moment, my heart is far, far to the east of here.  My heart yearns to touch stone 7,300 miles away.  My soul hears a different quiet – the confused, crazy quiet created when the Imam calls Adhan, when the davening of shacherit rings out on cobbled streets, when a slow melodic chant seeps out of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and my brain slows and quiets as discernment among the religious cacophony becomes impossible. And yet I know the one sound which trumps all, which breaks through the tumult of a Jerusalem morning: the red alert siren blast, the frantic hushed quiet which follows as everyone scrambles for shelter.

Each day at The Sea Ranch brings new delights and amazements; sage ponds settling into earth, sea otters craning to play with my children, redwoods reaching elegantly for the blue/grey sky, the call of a crow and the loud thunder of sea carving, carving, endless carving into rock.  And yet, as I taste salted air on my tongue and feel droplets of mist skim my cheeks, I wonder if I have a right to feel such bliss while my people grab their children and run for shelter, while a continuous social media war reminds me the lessons of anti-Semitism I learned at the fists of others in elementary school.  I vacillate between bliss and guilt and fear and serenity and delight and sorrow.

And yet, I remember both these and these are the living words…  Both are True and real.  I can hold them.  I can swing my children around in the beach while longing for the same carefree moment on Mediterranean shores, I can show them how to skip stones in a crystal clear river while praying for hands caressing the smooth, warn stones of the Wall.  I can run with my husband through mist and salt and wind while fearing for legs pumping and dashing toward shelters, away from buildings, away from home.  I can hold it all.

Oseh Shalom Bimromav…May peace descend upon all Israel, on all her citizens, on all her neighbors.  May it descend like droplets of rich fog and spread as a blanket of sand and hold solid as the rock cliff on the hill.

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