This week's portion: going forth into something new
Reluctant prophet


There's no getting around it: I've grown to really like spending time in our funeral home.

There's more than one in our community, of course, but this is the one I know best. The one which accomodates members of our shul. Where they leave the light on for us overnight, as our members come and go, keeping company with the dead.

This time I didn't get the message until it was too late to help with taharah. But I got the second call, asking whether I could take a shift as shomeret. So after an early dinner I let myself into the building and came upstairs to the room where the draped casket rests. I chatted briefly with the person who was here before me, who had anecdotes and remembrances to share.

And then I settled in for my evening. Read a little Torah. Prayed for a while. But mostly I soaked in the feeling of calm that this place seems to bring out in me. It's strangely timeless. The silence has a kind of hum to it, a restful energy.

This work, like the hospital chaplaincy I find I miss, removes me from my usual context. Whatever has been bothering or exciting me, making me apprehensive or elated or overwhelmed, recedes in this moment. I feel still and calm, a heart perfectly at-rest.

There are things more important than the ups and downs of my week, my accomplishments and frustrations. Like the mystery of our living, and the mystery of what comes next, the bridge none of us can cross. Here I am, breathing.

Technorati tags: , , .