Saturday, December 15, 2012

Judah before Joseph

MikketsGen 44:11-17
My mother is Director of Human Resources and legal counsel for the Newtown, CT public schools. This tragedy lands incredibly close to home. Selfishly, I am grateful that she has been home recovering from knee replacement surgery, but I know even from a distance, she and her coworkers are broken open. Numb and devastated, heartbroken and traumatized. They need time and healing and soul food.
The impulse for destruction is the Cain in all of us; the need Joseph's brothers had to plan to kill him, then delay that impulse by selling him into slavery instead. And then there is the unimaginable destruction that can happen when that impulse cannot be quenched.
The chaos that follows, the communal healing healing that must follow, breaks us all open. Our hearts and souls stand as one, bear witness and bow down to hold the communal suffering in Connecticut and other places where we are connected and touched.
We are all strangers in the land of grief. We wander the landscape that we used to know, and it is different now. The people we have known before become unknown to us; foreign.
Where are the touchstones that used to exist? Vanished. Unknown. No longer present.
It's like the world that used to hold color is only shades of gray now. Color no longer exists. We don't know if it will return. We don't know who we will be if it returns.
Grief transforms -- and not just for a magical purpose. We may survive, we may reconstitute ourselves and live, but we can never be the same again. We cannot go back to that "before" person. Part of what we have lost is that self we used to be. The parent, the mother, the father, the sister, the daughter, the brother, the son, the friend we used to be.
After this loss, it is no longer.
It reminds us how precious we each are, how vulnerable we are to randomness, violence, and how much we need each other.
Today, our souls reach out to still be there with patience and kindness. To help bear the ration of pain doled out to the Newtown community, because we are one whole, one being standing together.
May they find nourishment among the grief, soul food when they are hungry, comfort and healing as we stand together, broken open but not alone.May the time pass and grant the quiet restraint of Joseph, the standing-as-one of Judah, the wholeness of our brother and sisterhood of humanity, and the compassion and oneness of healing of Yud Hay Vav Hay, as we all grapple with our individual and communal rations of pain. May we find shalom in our hearts and souls as we stand to heal together.