Because we teach each other: The Deal, a mother poem
Responding to heartbreak


I promise to try to begin and end each day with gratitude.

I promise to try to remember to say thank you for everything which sustains me: morning shower, cup of coffee, the reheated leftovers of the meal my husband lovingly made last night.

I promise to do my best to pay attention to the world: the illimitable stream of beauties and surprises and sweetness, and the endless unfolding of sorrow and hurt.

I promise to try to find the blessing in everything.

I promise to try to relate to each person everywhere as a holy being who merits my respect.

I promise that I will try to be kind, and I will try to keep my heart open.

I promise that I will try to be compassionate with myself when I fail to live up to these promises, when I have to pick myself up and try again, and again.

In return, God promises me this breath, and the next, and the next -- until such time as my breathing comes to an end. God promises me this moment.

God promises to continue speaking creation into being and breathing life into all things.

God promises to stream blessing into the world.

God promises to take me where I need to be, even if it isn't always where I want to go.

God promises to be in relationship with me always, even though I can hardly grasp what that relationship would mean.

God promises to listen when I speak, even if God can't talk back.

God promises that I will never be alone.


This week in our b'nei mitzvah prep program we're studying brit -- covenant. As Jews we understand ourselves always to be in perennial communal covenant with God, a covenant which is symbolized by our keeping Shabbat and practicing brit milah. I believe we're also always in individual covenant with God, too, and I'll be inviting the students to write their own personal brit with God. I didn't want to ask them to do something I hadn't tried first myself, so here is mine.