This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Next Year In Jerusalem

At the end of the seder, Jews have always vowed to one another:
"L'shana haba-a bi-Y'rushalyaim/
Next Year in Jerusalem!" Why does the seder end with this vow?

For Jews, forced into diaspora two thousand years ago, wandering always in countries which were sometimes safe harbors and sometimes nightmares, the dream of Jerusalem was more than the city itself.

To dream that next year we would be in Jerusalem is to dream of a land and time of autonomy, safety, self-determination, the right to one's own culture and language and spirituality, to live on land that can't be taken from you by the whim of an outside power. To live with the basic right to be who you are. Jerusalem comes from the same word root as "shalom" which is usually translated as "peace" but actually means "wholeness."

But this year, in Jerusalem, wholeness is very far away, and the news seems to be worse with each passing day. Still, when we look for the sparks of resistance, we see them everywhere. Fed by an aching for justice, some sparks have already grown to small brush fires, and grow in strength each day.

This year we say instead: L'shanah ha-ba'ah b'olam b'shalom!/
Next year may we all live in a world of peace!
- Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah

The reason Passover has always stuck to me is because it is the telling of a story, and, like any good story, the first thing it does is tell you it's a story. This post is not a good story, it is a litany of mechanism that I have been tinkering with all week.

The unwed seed, planted in my brain before consciousness took hold, is called by story. I have been wanting stories to pour out of me, stories that mean something to anyone who might take the time to read them.

There has been, recently, a gap, between what I feel and what I think the world wants. I have taken to describing it as the "little bird lost" syndrome. The little bird lost is what happens when I lose my center. I feel like a caricature then. I told the bartender an unsavory quip about the lubricant at my bedside while trying to drink myself to death (or so it seemed come Thursday morning) because, well, he wasn't saying anything. He was just standing there, wiping his bar.

The fissures are obvious, and the more so because I don't want to be hiding them. I break, for brief moments sometimes, "Do you ever feel you're crazy?" I ask strangers. I know everyone does on occasion. I ask so she knows that's how I feel. Little bird lost feels paralyzed in the psychic place where there is infinite space between gaps. I can never truly be touching you, or this place, or this moment.

This is not a world we say "I can't" to. This is a world where I am not afraid to be strong. This is not a world where my curiosity overrides my gut knowledge. This is a world where I try and fail in order to succeed. The body exists to heal itself constantly and that is the state I move toward.

I ask big questions to achieve humble goals. I want dialogue, questioning and celebration. I had better learn that there will be obstacles. I had better learn that the little flapping birds don't just get picked up because they're scared, they get picked up because they stay and are seen on the path.

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