Friday, December 31, 2010

Blankets and Seasons

It was a tough year, but I made it !!! 

And thus ends 2010.
Like Solomon I have looked back and taken inventory. This is the sum of it.
Back in 1965 the Byrds sang these words and everyone whether they knew it or not memorized Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ~

1 For everything there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to discard, 7 a time to tear and a time to sew, a time to keep silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Yes everyone walks through seasons. No one gets a special notice saying they are exempt from falls and winters and can bask in spring and summer their entire life. Even tropical paradise has hurricanes and tsunamis.
So what does one do when the winds keep blowing and the temperature doesn't warm up? Grab another blanket!
Blankets have come in all sizes and colors for me.
Email messages
Phone calls
Birthday parties

I have no idea what 2011 will hold. I may have to bundle up awhile longer, or I may be headed into a sweet spring, but this one thing I know. My Heavenly Father has an endless supply of blankets that He will provide. And when spring and summer come again, I have a keepsake cabinet that I will store all my blankets in. 
If you find yourself in one of those seasons where you need a blanket, I pray for you someone to reach in their cabinet and pull out one of their prized blankets to share. And if you know someone who looks like the chill of winter is upon them - give them one of yours.
See you all in 2011.

Friday, November 12, 2010

On The Other Side of the Door

On November 4, 2010 Rabbi Richard “Rube” Rubinstein was ushered into the Presence of his Messiah. He is now on the other side of the door while we wait on this side. In his last few days I think he, according to his wife, was allowed to crack that door open and peek inside for when he regained consciousness between those times of sleep, his eyes had that, “I’ve seen and heard something most amazing” look about them.
I will miss him. He was not only a Rabbi (teacher), but a mentor and a friend. He believed in my son when others only saw confusion. He accepted my daughter as one of his own even though she continues to worship elsewhere. He saw beyond circumstance. He listened. He listened beyond the words and into the heart.
I remember him holding court as it were during oneg. He’d set a chair off to the side and wait. And if you weren’t the first to pull another chair alongside his first, you waited and watched for the next opportunity along with the others who did the same. Most of the time someone would have to make him a plate of food or grab a bagel with cream cheese and take it to him. And then when you talked, his eyes were not roaming the crowd hoping to catch that “important” person. You were that important person. You had his attention. If you told him something sad, his eyes would cloud over as his heart met yours. If something you said was worthy of a laugh, his head would tilt back and he’d let out with a hardy robust “ha, ha, ha” – straight from the heart.
A few things I learned from Rabbi Rube –
  Care for animals. He knew they were important to G~d by the instructions in Torah that He set forth.
  Conducting one’s life as a Jew is a sacred trust. Do it well.
  Passion and meekness go hand in hand.
  Waiting in prayer creates anticipation.
  Anything can be redeemed.
  Dying with grace and dignity is a beautiful thing.
A few days ago I was in the home of the Rebbetzin surrounded by the family both blood and synagogue sitting shivah as is our custom.  I was given the sweet privilege of rocking one of Rabbi’s almost three month old twin granddaughters to sleep. One of the ladies of our shul observed this, got up from the couch and whispered to me,"how appropriate – you’re holding Rube’s grandchild, while he is now holding yours.”
I’m sure Abba allowed Rube to hear that remark too. And we both smiled.

A Very Hard Journey

I am walking a road that one never expects to walk. This journey will be long - life long.
Roads like this many times begin with a phone call.  Just a routine phone call in the middle of the day.
My phone call came just like that. I did indeed expect a phone call that day coming upon one month ago. I expected an excited, “we’re ready, come on over to the house”, phone call. But instead the voice was anxious, bordering panic beckoning me to rush to the hospital where my daughter and son-in-love had gone. It was the beginning of rush hour. My house was on the other side of town. The freeway was crowded. Lots of stops. I in fact abandoned the freeway for surface streets. At least I was moving toward my destination. And all the while I prayed and dug deep inside my spirit for a glint of hope.
But the prayer was answered differently. I was given courage and strength.
My sweet grandson, Rhys Michael, passed from his mother’s womb into eternity just a few hours before his birth.
And I did cry out and ask why. I still do. But I am content to know that I may never know why. Just the knowledge that my Heavenly Father holds me a little closer when I ask, is comfort.
These are the things I am learning as I walk this rocky path.
My Heavenly Abba will never let me go. And He will never let my daughter and son-in-love go either. I have seen in them, as well as my husband and I strength that comes from somewhere else. From His Hand.
Comfort comes in different ways than we would like or think we need.
I’m learning that for a grandparent there is not the support out there that is offered to grieving parents. We take on the role of caregiver. We watch as our children hurt so very deeply and this is a boo boo that we can’t kiss away. So we do what we can, and offer what we can to the point of exhaustion.
We come home to mailboxes filled with ads and bills but no cards of sympathy. To empty refrigerators, too tired to shop after a full day of back to work stress. We answer the questions that everyone wants to know but would never ask the grieving parents.
There is support out there for those grieving pets, but not for grandparents. Crazy huh?
But this I have learned. There are those out there who are praying and remembering and thinking. They still blanket us with prayers of comfort in the privacy of their own homes and hearts.
I had this brought home to me two Saturdays ago as I went to my synagogue.
All I had to do was walk in and I had several embracing me, listening to me, allowing me to cry. “ You’ve been on my mind all week.”
Those are sweet words.
And so I’ll continue to walk. I am weary.
Within this year of 2010 I have either directly or indirectly with family and friends, walked this path of grief 12 times.
There is no merit badge for this one. Just the realization that G~d’s grace is sufficient. And that brings me comfort.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comfort, conviction and Christmas

Has it really been a full year since I last posted? I guess I'm not a very good blogger am I?

Oh I've written several blogs in the past year - in the early morning hours when my brain was tired of counting sheep. But we haven't developed the technology to transfer brain waves to computers so...

This latest attempt however came about compliments of Facebook.

Someone posted a half-hearted comment meant only to register a thumbs up "like", but someone else actually posted another half-hearted response. Silly me. I just had to respond to said responder which started a dialog worthy of a forum. But like most, ended with the proverbial, "I don't want to take the time to back up my convictions with evidence. And more importantly, I don't want to take your statements seriously. You believe what you want and I'll believe my way and we can hold hands and sing We Are The World."

Yes that's a bit snarky. But I found it interesting that the original poster and another of like mind responder were clearly not interested in the "other side". They were happy and after all this was Facebook where we only "like" things we write to each other.

And so - this is not Facebook. This is MY blog, MY turf and I can share MY own ridiculous opinions. And hopefully someone will read it and either agree or disagree. But at least here I can state MY two cents worth.

Let's start with the first word of my title - comfort.

We're all comfortable with our own beliefs. We need to be or else they wouldn't be our beliefs. But sometimes we get too comfortable with them. We forget they define us to others and to G~d. (Yes I'm using that funny space instead of "o". If you want to know why - ask me!)

Most of the time we come by our beliefs by osmosis, or parents or friends or books someone recommended, that we haven't read yet but know it will change our lives. Some people actually take the time to find out why they believe what they believe, but usually in Christendom or Judaism it's what someone else told them.

Now I'm going to get personal. So those of you who don't want your beliefs challenged, gulp down that last swig of coffee and switch to Facebook.

The third word in my title - Christmas. And while we’re at it lets really up the antae and throw in Easter.

Where did they come from? The Bible you say with that pursed lip shake of the head. Did they?

Is there a scripture that says, "Lo (verses always start with Lo when it has to do with Christmas) it came about on Christmas morning that shepherds found the Babe... (you get the point).

Sorry. Do a word search and Christmas ain't there.

Know what comes up when you do the search with Easter. You actually get a verse. Really! But only in King James.

Act 12:4 "And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternion of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."

But before you do the happy dance, it's the Greek word (pascha) for the Hebrew word (pesach) Passover.

Now I could go into a long diatribe about the birth of Christmas and Easter - who started them - the whole nine yards. But like my Facebook friend said (and I paraphrase), "yeah I know about that but I don't care." And here I quote, "In my case, my conscience has no problems with Christmas or Easter."

There's an awful lot of people on death row that would tell you their conscience has no problem with what they did to get them to "Hotel DR."

Now I come to the middle word in the title. Comfort. Let's face it, we need to be comfortable. We hate it when someone comes and has the audacity to mess with our comfort. Especially religious comfort. I’m sure the people back when Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the rest of the minor prophets, had they been of Facebook, would have said the same things as now. I have no problems with worshipping in the high places not designated by G~d. After all, it doesn’t matter where we worship - it’s who we worship. However the end of the story for these fine folks wasn’t pretty. G~d did care. Very much.

Okay I’ve taken up enough of your precious time - and away from finding out which politician you resemble.

Will celebrating Christmas and Easter send you to hell? Depends on which church you go to…

My point is this.

Most everybody uses conscience and conviction to justify just about anything they want to do - are comfortable with. But whatever you believe with all conviction, make sure you personally have done a thorough study and search to see where G~d stands with it. And if it’s just a tradition set forth by man to make people comfortable even though G~d has a better way, consider stepping out of the fast moving current long enough to ask Him if it’s the river He wants you in.

Oh and one more thing… cause I don’t know when I’ll blog next and I want you to get your money’s worth…

Since G~d and Jesus are one and the same - when Jesus died on the cross, He didn’t nullify all those things He wrote in the first thousand plus pages of your Bible.