Sitting in the darkness wondering from where the light will come... this time.
I've been here many times before and each time eventually it comes -- the light -- though I never know from where or when nor even if, though it has yet to fail me.
But perhaps the uncertainty is requisite. Perhaps it takes this trembling fear, this shaking, quivering terror of being forever trapped in this sticky-thick blackness in order for the light to emerge. Perhaps without these the light would never come.
The blackness and terror invade me until finally I succumb and sink, like a drowning man, to a place of pure doubt and faithlessness.
Then, from this mire a pathway opens -- to the miraculous, the unexpected, the heretofore-not-to-be-conceived.
Because that is what comes when faith is lost and rediscovered; when unexpectedly, desperately gasping for breath, he finds himself cast upon an island, dazed, blinking against the blinding sun, breathing deeply, openly, once again connected without the slightest notion of how he got there.
But while wallowing in the wasteland of darkness, each time it is the same. Always I forget. I can't remember who I was before. I can't find yesterday's source of nurture. I can't remember nor laugh nor even look upon my favorite vista with wonder any longer.
Wisdom and experience escape me. Perspective and understanding collude with the darkness, hide within it, skillfully conceal themselves no matter how desperately I seek them.
Left alone, without resource, I question: Where have I gone? How does the darkness erase me so completely?
But then, with light once again restored I wonder just as quickly: Was there concealed in this blackness, disguised as fear, white cleansing snow come to purify me? In erasing me so completely was there then created a space for something new, a cleansed, expanded vessel within which a brighter, clearer light is now contained?
And though I'd much prefer my cleansing in another way, am I so ungrateful for the gift that I would reject it for the unpleasantness of the wrapping?
Yes, sometimes. Sometimes it is too painful and confusing. Sometimes I feel so out of control, so victimized and helpless. Sometimes in frustration and need I cause hurt to others. Sometimes I would reject the gift... if I could.
But if I had that choice, the blackness would not be so thick, the fear so overwhelming.
If I had that choice perhaps the light would never come, because, it seems, this is a demand of the miraculous:
That it occurs when choice is not, when we find ourselves immersed in hopelessness -- standing at the edge of the Sea of Reeds with Egyptians behind and water in front with nothing but despair.
Now, comes the unexpected, the heretofore not conceived, the opportunity and gift given by G‑d regardless of our merit and according to His mercy. Now the waters part and stand revealing their jewels, containing gifts that beckon to be grasped and taken for our own.
And we land, in light, upon foreign, distant shores, upon wilderness awaiting our exploration, clothed in fresh, simple garments, pioneers of a self born simply of our soul demanding its expansion, exhorting us to the selflessness of self that precedes the emergence of a greater self and soul, closer to the essence of our being.
And in bewilderment we forge ahead, in wondrous garments, guided and protected by clouds of glory, seeking our humility, challenged by our need and desire, reaching for mountains we wish to climb, a G‑d we wish to know, a life of truth we wish to lead.
In prayer and pain we called -- I called -- today I call:
-- Oh please G‑d hear my pain and agony, my confusion and despair -- Oh please G‑d, see the blackness in which I sit, the fear I feel, the oppression. -- Oh please G‑d, my labor is so hard, my daily toil so overwhelming, the straw so hard to find, the bricks so hard to bake. -- Oh please, G‑d, save me, bring me light where now I see only darkness, bring me hope though I am surrounded by Egyptians more powerful than I, trapped in a guarded foreign land of materialism, lust and greed from which there is -- with certainty -- no escape.
And from the distance, while I sit in darkness, appears a light, a hope, a future, a new self born.
And while I wish it could be in another way -- with less suffering and fear -- would I really reject the gift for the unpleasantness of the wrapping?