Opening Myself to What Might Come

My Faith by Sally Wiener GrottaI don’t know what I believe about a God. I find it difficult to accept an all-powerful being who is, at the same time, able to dwell in/be the entire universe and, yet, anthropomorphically dabbles in the second-to-second trivia of 5 billion individual human lives on a flyspeck of a planet, when that planet is just one among billions upon billions, in our one insignificant galaxy.

My faith is rooted in the connection we can make when we meet another person, when we hold a child or fully experience a mountain vista.

Yet, I am now part of my temple’s woman’s Torah study group. Not only part of it, but the facilitator for our first session, and our rabbi – Peg Kershenbaum — asked me to write a prayer to start our first meeting. As Rabbi Peg wrote to me, “The traditional prayer begins in the standard way (Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe Who sanctified us by commandments and commanded us) and ends ‘to engage with the words/matters of Torah.’ La’asok b’divrei Torah. The word engage is the same word as that used for earning a living or actively plunging into a project or transaction. We roll up our sleeves, flex our muscles and sharpen our intellect and dive into the fray!”

How was I to write a prayer that would be true to who I am, if I don’t really believe in the kind of God that is represented in the Torah? After many hours of conflict and contemplation, this is what I came up with:

I come to you to seek myself
The core of me that came before
Before today
Before yesterday
Before me

I seek my multitude
My inherent contradictions
My self that is you
Beyond me
Beyond us
Beyond now

Through words that are ancient
Words that are not yet formed
Beyond now
Beyond meaning
Beyond logic

May I open myself to you
To what I do not know
To what I cannot conceive
Beyond logic
Within you
Within us

In the process of creating and sculpting this prayer, I began to question my lack of belief in God. Not that I have come to accept the idea of a God being feasible. But, as I said to my new friend Andrea Hairston this weekend, when we were talking about what we both hold true, “If we believe in the sacredness of the human connection, of nature, in the spirit that binds us all, are we understanding and even perhaps approaching a faith that is close to the original human concepts of God?”

I still don’t know what I believe about God. But I am opening myself up to whatever might come.

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