The spiritual journey from Passover to Shavuot is a metaphor for the spiritual journey I traveled during this same time period.
Passover is the Jewish celebration of the liberation of the Hebrew slaves from Egyptian bondage. Yet, it is seven weeks before the Israelites can be spiritually ready to accept the revelation of the Torah from Mt. Sinai. During those seven weeks, we work to prepare ourselves spiritually - to shed old habits that no longer serve us, and to declutter our minds, bodies, and spirits so we can let the light and wisdom of Torah open unto us.
At Passover this year, I was still a rabbi with a synagogue congregation. At Shavuot this year, I am a rabbi with the world as a congregation. I needed to traverse a spiritual journey during this time - a journey of healing, forgiveness, acceptance, openness and growth in order to make this transition the powerful and life affirming one that it truly is.
I pictured myself at passover as wrapping myself in a cocoon - partly to protect myself from some mean-spirited barbs, partly to give myself solace, partly to find peace and inner light--just wrapping myself in a healing space for this spiritual journey. I was blessed to be able to take a three week transatlantic crossing to Europe during which time I allowed myself to just BE. I also learned and practiced the art of grace.
I meditated, wrote, studied and luxuriated in the moment.
Upon my return, I had only one job, not two. I only worked nights as a hospital/trauma chaplain, and not nights as a chaplain AND days as a rabbi. At first I felt like I was playing hookie -- and then I realized that I just needed to stretch out into this new life, this new chapter.
On Shavuot, I awoke feeling like a butterfly newly liberated from its chrysalis -- with sticky, uncertain wings opening and closing, fanning the air making ready for flight.
Also on Shavuot, I awoke to find that ten years of my work, writing, studies, research, sermons, classes -- everything - vanished. The day before, when making a disc of our vacation photos, I inadvertently reformatted and wiped clean my external disc where I stored all my work.
I was stunned. Ten years of work gone - in thin air.
And yet -- Shavuot was my new beginning. The Universe was letting me know: Kiddo -- you are letting go of ALL of the past. ALL of it -- every itty bit of it.
Was it good? Was it bad? It just was and is. Not good or bad, it just is.
Actually, in a way, it feels liberating.
I stand open and ready for the adventure -- and excited to see where this next path will lead. So far, I love where it is headed.
May we all be blessed with new beginnings, each moment, each day - may we see creation unfold before us and see the world with new eyes -- eyes made for wonder.