Friday, October 3, 2014

Unetaneh Tokef

On Rosh HaShanah it is written
on Yom Kippur it is sealed:

The calendar is my enemy and my friend. These days pass swiftly. Do they even matter?
How many shall pass on, how many shall come to be
who shall live and who shall die
who shall see ripe age and who shall not

We knew so many who died, those who came before us. 
But it couldn't be us, right? It couldn't happen in our house....

who shall perish by fire and who by water
who by sword and who by beast

The fire of radiation, the days and days of baths.
The needles of spinal taps and the wee bacterial beasties....
who by hunger and who by thirst
who by earthquake and who by plague
who by strangling and who by stoning

Watching as he got thinner and thinner, 
his very bones consumed by disease.
The foundations of our universe rocked....
The ground buckled and shook and threatened to swallow us whole. 
who shall be secure and who shall be driven
who shall be tranquil and who shall be troubled

Neverending worry, waiting, watching, wondering....
when will the end come? What are we waiting for? 
Will it be painful? Will we watch him suffer?
Will it be quiet and soft, will he just quietly....go?

who shall be poor and who shall be rich

So many times we amount of money or power or influence can buy what we really want.
So many gifts eased our way. So much generous love cared for us each day.
And the end...we are all the same.
who shall be humbled and who exalted

Was I too cocky? Did I take my blessings for granted? Did I revel just a little bit too much in the absolute gorgeous fullness of my beautiful four? Did I thrill just a little bit too much to the delight of my children's limbs entangled in a tickle fight, filling my home with noise and laughter and wonder? Did I believe that we were invincible....that nothing could touch us? 

But repentance, prayer and charity temper judgment's severe decree.

Ah, yes. Can it be? Did we escape something far more horrible? 
Could there have been a different, more terrible way that things could have gone?
Or perhaps, this year, it's God's turn for a little repentance and my turn for a little judgment.