One of my favorite children’s books is Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola. A young man is different from the other young warriors, he is born for art, for painting. He goes on a vision quest and finds his reality, his fate. And today, flowers called Indian paintbrush dazzle the plains as evidence of his inspiration and insight. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyaifWkUWr0
Yom Kippur was yesterday, and when I took my shower this morning I had the weirdest deja vu experience: to the morning after my son was born. It was life renewed: so great to take a shower, to have breakfast, to let the morning sun wash over me, to give thanks for the morning, and to ride my bike. A bit as I felt reborn after my own child was born. And I thought to myself, “wow, it really worked!”
I want to write about the fasting on Yom Kippur. I’ve done it before out of trust and sticking with my buddies who fast. It’s sometimes difficult due to dehydration, and sometimes I just slog on and make it through the day to get to the end, that break fast. Is that all there is? Many that I know do not fast, they don’t see the value, and simply don’t want to.
But out of the trust that the tradition must have deeper value I have fasted. This year I realize that it’s myself I fast for. Friends often try to talk me out of fasting, for health reasons. As I was feeling a bit queasy yesterday morning (new medication on an empty stomach) one friend urged: “It’s Ok to eat, God doesn’t want you to get sick”. I assured her I’d be fine. Later I realized I don’t fast for God, but for me. To know that life is more than an endless quest to satisfy hunger, or habits. To know that food and water are not entitlements, but blessings. To raise empathy for those that go hungry and thirsty. But most of all, it’s my vision quest. http://www.schooloflostborders.org/content/huffington-post-what-vision-quest-and-why-do-one Through fasting to draw near to ultimate questions, to myself and to the possibility of more intensely resonating. And this year I emerged like Jonah. In my head I knew that the world and I still faced giants of problems, but In my heart was joy. I remembered this song, by Dan Nichols. http://www.last.fm/music/Dan+Nichols+and+Eighteen/_/All+We+Can+Do
“Do as much as you can, with the time that you have, in the place that you are. Eighteen words from a kid, with less than a year to live, Eighteen words from a kid. He knew so much more than they thought he did. Lo Alecha…What can one person do, the task is great and the time is short, words our fathers knew. We can’t do it all but we can all do more…All we can do, is all we can do.” The next lyric cries: “from all that used to be, to all that might have been; there’s no mystery; if we work with what’s in between; All we can do is all we can do!”
Hebrew, unlike English, has only three tenses, I’ve learned: present, future, and past. No might have beens. We’ve confronted our choices from last year, made apologies, moved on to the next year with a clean slate. No regrets, no “might have beens” Just all we can do, in