Today is the birthday of the world.
The beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days.
We say it is the birthday of the world.
But we also say it is the day the world was conceived.
Conception, birth, creation, it is an ongoing process, creation. We are constantly being created, born, re-born. We look around us, look back, rethink, make adjustments, and are born anew.
The universe is a great, continuous work of performance art. And our lives are part of that.
These are the Days of Awe. A time to look back. A time to look forward. A time to heal the world, on both an intimate and a grand scale.
I'm not sure how I feel about this whole God thing. I've had certain experiences that I don't like to talk about, experiences that made me doubt the doctrinaire atheism with which I was raised. Yes, there are Jewish atheists, and I was a third generation one. But I started to feel things, sense things... things that made even less rational sense than an orgasm-inducing stick of oak baseboard trim. My rabbi says I'm a pantheist. He doesn't seem to mind. Indeed, he sounds proud of me. I suspect he's a bit of a pantheist himself.
So I'm heading into 10 days of looking back and looking ahead. And looking into right now.
I can't help looking back. I have so many memories tied up with the holidays. The first time I came to my synagogue was shortly after September 11th. I came with the woman I thought I was in love with. I don't think I was really in love with her, but she broke my heart anyway. By Yom Kippur it was all over. We each kept seeing the man we were both involved with. Now THAT was an interesting story... I still see him every so often when he's back in town visiting his mother. I'm expecting another visit in about a month or so. I... um... no. Let's just say I'm looking forward to it.
I had my dyke haircut back then. I was trying very hard to be a lesbian. I failed miserably, but now I wonder if that didn't have to do with my unrealized submission. Another thing to think about.
Now my hair is thick and shoulder length and with only a few more white bits around the temples. Everyone says how gorgeous it looks. And I thank them and think how it's long and gorgeous because the philosopher ordered me to grow it. So whether or not I choose to think of him, I can't help it. My hair looks beautiful and it is his.
I sit there in services with my little notebook, jotting down good bits from our prayerbook, jotting down bits that people say, jotting down my own thoughts... and feeling every moment that I am in service to my demon muse, to the Sorcerer, who told me in no uncertain terms to get myself a notebook or 3. I think of the year past and of all the loss, and I think of the year ahead and feel both dizzy and safe. I have given myself over to his mysterious plan for me, and it feels good to have given myself over. I'm afraid of heights, I'm afraid of falling, but I close my eyes and let myself fall back, and whether he catches me or lets me crash to the ground I will accept my fate.
I don't believe in that kind of God. I'm not sure if I believe in God at all, although I seem to have a sense of something... I think I'm some sort of mystic... but I don't believe in a God who has a plan for me and everyone and that i just have to have faith that Someone has already written the script. If I do believe in God, it is one who said ok folks, see this world you find yourself in? It's your job to sort things out, to fix it, to heal it. If your dog is lost, I'm not going to pop down and find it for you. You have to take care of each other and figure it all out.
But for some reason, I believe in my demon muse, this man who managed to hunt me without making me feel defensive. I'm a cautious pet, I run from people who pursue too hard. But I never realized the danger I was in until it was too late. And now he has this plan for me, and I say yes, Sir, I agree, this is not a game.
And I look at the year ahead, and all I see is me walking forward into the mist. And if he's leading me over a cliff, so be it, because I'm not looking down.
And to all of you for whom this applies, and anyone else who wants it:
A gut yontiff, a gut yor.
Best wishes for a good holiday and a good year.
(And God, if you DO get the urge to meddle down here, could you please make sure Barack Obama wins the election?)