As we stand before God, we are challenged to reclaim all the shards of self that have been broken off in trauma, all the lost pieces of self that we project on the “other,” all the parts of self that lie hidden behind walls of shame or pride. As we stand up in our integrity, the blessings of covenantal love begin to shine through our lives.
—Rabbi Shefa Gold
The First Covenant: Noah’s crosscut saw
It’s never easy admitting that you haven’t gotten over someone, especially when that person hasn’t treated you with the love and kindness that you deserve. I have to say that I’m proud of you for not giving in to anger, when I know that everyone around you is telling you to shake your fists in the air and curse her. Doesn’t it feel better to forgive? Empathy may be the best tool God equipped us with (sorry for the HVAC reference-couldn’t help it). I can’t imagine how difficult it’s been for you to do this, again, after so many times of going through the same thing, over and over, when all along you trusted the process, and her, and yourself in the middle of it all.
Do you remember the time we were driving in that snowstorm, and the car started sliding, and I started to panic? I will never forget how you gently put your hand on my arm and said, “Just stay calm. I’ve got this.” And you did. I would have killed us for sure, but you knew exactly what to do. You didn’t panic or slam on the breaks or any of those things people are told not to do in that situation but inevitably end up doing.
I guess that’s the advice I have for you now. Just stay calm. You’ve got this.
I love you, and I know you may not want to hear this, but…all suffering does come with a prize in the end. You will be that much more strong and wise for this. I know, it’s a hackneyed bit of advice, yet you and I both know it’s true. Maybe if you just think about yourself in five years—LOL!
Congratulations on the job, btw! That’s great that you like the work and your co-workers. It’s hard to find a job where all the elements come together, and even though I’m a little jealous, I am glad that your co-workers have a good sense of humor like you. You deserve it!
Call me anytime. I’m always here.
ps, that’s a cool pic of your grandfather’s saw…wasn’t his name Noah? ha ha Noah’s ark, saw, get it? Okay, you’ve always been the funnier one. So good to catch up!!
We are given this sacred time of renewal each week so that we might rest and enjoy the fruits of Creation…On Shabbat we are led to the place where covenantal love may be consummated.
—Rabbi Shefa Gold
The Second Covenant: A Silver-Plated Menorah And A Skype conversation about Mercury and God
[4:40:22 PM] BS: W___ just sent me this:
[12/20/11 4:34:19 PM] WH: What happens when Mercury retrogrades? You miss appointments, your computer equipment crashes, checks get lost, you find the car you just purchased during Mercury retrograde is a lemon. (Or, you hate your haircut, the lamp you bought shorts out, your sister hates her birthday gift.) There will be countless delays, cancellations and postponements–but know these will benefit you in the long run. Don’t fight them, although your frustration level and feeling of restlessness will be hard to cope with at times.
[12/20/11 4:34:22 PM] WH: This retrograde will last until December 13th or 14th (in some places), and the shadow period until January 1st, 2012. T
[12/20/11 4:34:46 PM] WH: I usually don’t buy into all that crap, but…given the last few weeks. I don’t know
[4:41:16 PM] ashley watson: lol..so true!
[4:56:46 PM] BS: did you make it to the end of the album? that last song, One Sunday Morning gets me every time
[4:57:22 PM] ashley watson: I am not sure, but I’ll listen to it now.
[4:58:21 PM] BS: see that you do
[5:02:41 PM] ashley watson: nice!
[5:09:14 PM] ashley watson: It’s one of those albums I think I could listen to over and over without getting sick of it. Like Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” which I think I’ve played over a hundred times and still enjoy it as if it were listening to it for the first time.
[5:09:40 PM] BS: yes!
[5:09:48 PM] BS: oh man, what a great album
[5:09:56 PM] ashley watson: one of the best ever
[5:10:03 PM] BS: yeah pretty much
[5:10:58 PM] ashley watson: (y)
[5:12:22 PM] BS: why is this a thing… ?
[5:12:25 PM] BS: (skype)
[5:12:48 PM] BS: yep. this is skype.
[5:13:48 PM] ashley watson: right?
[5:14:04 PM] BS: (^)
[5:14:07 PM] ashley watson: (^) this was the closest thing
[5:14:12 PM] ashley watson: whaaa?
[5:14:13 PM] BS: hahaha
[5:14:25 PM] BS: nice
[5:14:48 PM] ashley watson: I was going to say that (^) is the closest thing I could find to a menorah because it’s time to go light Chanukah candles
[5:15:45 PM] ashley watson: another fun fact: I’m converting to Judaism. now i just need to consult Rabbi Google to find the correct blessing to say when lighting the candles
[5:15:49 PM] BS: Happy Chanukah
[5:16:02 PM] BS: lol
[5:16:12 PM] ashley watson: is it your birthday, or were you just mesmorized by the animated candles on the cake?
[5:17:04 PM] BS: mesmorized by the randomness of some of the skype emoticons
[5:17:20 PM] ashley watson: ah, so strange that we sent it at the same time
[5:17:25 PM] BS: agreed
[5:17:30 PM] ashley watson: must be mercury in retroograde!
[5:17:44 PM] BS: are you really converting to Judaism?
[5:18:21 PM] ashley watson: yep. I first met with a Rabbi last March
[5:18:30 PM] ashley watson: I know your next question…
[5:18:51 PM] BS: what’s that?
[5:18:53 PM] ashley watson: if you’re Jewish, it’s “Why in the hell would you do that?”
[5:18:58 PM] ashley watson: but if not,
[5:19:12 PM] ashley watson: then a simple, “why, if you don’t mind me asking?”
[5:19:28 PM] BS: split the difference
[5:19:35 PM] ashley watson: I get one or the other all the time, but I don’t mind answering
[5:19:35 PM] BS: I’m half jewish
[5:19:51 PM] ashley watson: half, as in you aren’t a practicing Jew, or one of your parents is Jewish?
[5:20:07 PM] BS: well, technically half jewish, but a practicing WhoKnows
[5:20:29 PM] ashley watson: I find that Judaism is like alcoholism, it tends to skip a generation (chuckle)
[5:21:28 PM] ashley watson: meaning, children of Orthodox or practicing Jews tend to say, “Meh,” to the whole thing, and children of non-practicing jews tend to take it up with fervor
[5:21:41 PM] BS: wow, is there really a skype icon for ‘pleased with yourself?’
[5:21:48 PM] ashley watson: is that what it means?
[5:22:07 PM] BS: oh Giggle, I see
[5:22:09 PM] BS: religion is such a strange thing.
[5:46:26 PM] ashley watson: yeah, I’ll have to tell you my story one day,
[5:47:30 PM] BS: I’d love to hear it
[5:47:44 PM] BS: stories are the best
[5:47:48 PM] BS: ok, I’m heading home
[5:48:06 PM] BS: enough of this sitting in front of a computer in the office. I have other computers in other places to sit in front of
[5:48:14 PM] ashley watson: lol
[5:48:22 PM] BS: peace
The challenge that God gives us is to choose Life and Blessing, to turn away from Death (the force of destruction) and Curse (the negativity that limits us). Yet what sounds so very simple becomes so very confusing in the moment-to-moment choices that we face. The Mind becomes an expert in rationalizing whatever choice might bolster the ego’s ambitions or defenses. What looks like a blessing in one moment may turn out to be a curse in the next. What seems like a choice for Life entangles us in the forces of Death. The simple challenge of “choosing Life” becomes infinitely more subtle.
—Rabbi Shefa Gold
the third covenant: an evangelical quarterback, a Half-Jewish/halfback’s daughter, & one of the most important games of their lives
INT. A MODEST LIVING ROOM IN VERMONT
We hear ASHLEY’S voice over the background music before the shot fades in, but we see her typing two or three lines into the monologue.
I’ve been thinking lately that if I were to ever write a memoir, I’d call it “How Football Saved My Life.” I know—trite, stupid, severely misguided, but somehow, it soothes me to think that—
She pauses to smile and look outside. We see slow motion snow falling in time with the music. She starts to type again.
—that, I don’t know, my father could be included in my story, even though all my life he tried to release himself from everything that defined him, even the story of his own life. But Goddamn, did he love football!
INT. SAME LIVING ROOM 24 HOURS BEFORE
Ashley is pacing around the room; she’s clearly been crying. We hear the echo of her MOTHER’s voice on the other end.
Ashley, don’t you remember the time you wrecked the car, and your daddy was there to take care of it? He may not have been there other times, but he was always there when you needed him.
(trying not to cry)
Ashley turns from the window back to the computer screen, which is glowing like a fire and lighting up her face. She is typing again.
Today I learned that, quote—The halfback position is one of the more glamorous positions on the field, and is commonly viewed as a requirement for a team’s success—I also learned about refrigerator door gaskets, chimney caps and screens, and heat pump compressors. This week I fixed my sump pump, replaced the kitchen sink spray nozzle, and learned why the ampersand receives better search engine results than “and.”
& I learned that forgiveness isn’t so much about turning cheeks, but turning the ego into the winning play.
& knowing, you’ve got this.