Sunday, October 3, 2010
Building the Fire
It is Bar/Bat Mitzvah high season for The Beast. Although born and raised an atheist—the child has embraced the Jewish culture—the singing, the dancing, the clapping, the high end catering, the swag….
It was a Bat Mitzvah that brought me, the ultimate non-religious person, to a temple this past Saturday.
I was watching the sailboats out on the river from this beautiful temple perch high on a hill in the Hudson Valley and suddenly in this quiet religious spot I looked down at the translation of what the child was reading in Hebrew. It was about building a fire…which is, of course, symbolic of so many things, but in the setting of the temple on a sunny, fall, Bat Mitzvah day—I could only think of one thing….raising a child.
In this wealthy suburb with houses packed full of goods and the children packed full of school and lessons and events—I thought about this prayer about how to build a fire. This prayer says that a strong fire is built by placing just as much care on the empty spaces as on the places where there is wood. It is about the space that is left between the wood that allows the fire to grow. Too much wood and the fire just smolders and never catches.
With our lives so full—is there room to build a fire? Is there room to grow or have we allowed the busyness of our lives to suffocate what we are actually trying to achieve? The child with so many activities, even if they are all good for her—does she have space to grow into what she want to become? Does she have time to decide what she wants to become? Thanks to religion I had some space in my day to think of The Beast and the need to put some space in our lives so the fire can grow.