I’m not the best pray-er in town (as I’ve mentioned elsewhere), but these past few days I’ve been saying psalms with more intention and intensity than I have in a long time.Tough times have me leaning a little harder on G-d, ain’t no two ways about it. The news of the kidnappings of Eyal Yifrach 19, Naftali Frankel 16 and Gil-ad Shaar 16 has this whole country on the top of their prayer game, because what else can we do?
I’ll tell you the truth; I have an on-off relationship with psalms. With nothing but love and respect for King David, I find his collection a little heavy-handed and melodramatic and not a little difficult to follow emotionally. The drama of his life’s story told in song is super intense and not always readily relatable to me. There are simply days where I am not in an “I have sunk in muddy depths without foothold; and the current sweeps me away” kind of a headspace.
And even when I am, the very next passage is something like: “Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us raise our voices in jubilation to the Rock of our deliverance.”
Just like that.
I get jet lagged from the spiritual and emotional travel his words induce.
Despite my psalm-issues, I’ve been saying them anyway, and have been therefore thinking about them a lot. And I’ve come to the understanding that part of the greatness of King David’s work lays precisely in the staccato nature of each song. It seems to me that the shifting from frame to frame, the Ping-Pong from darkness to light, from despair to joy is a transition that we have to master in order to stay balanced and strong in this life.
As I type these words, there are “booms” that sound like the steps of a giant’s boots pummeling the earth. The explosions, sometimes on Syrian soil, sometimes just “practice” on our side of the border, quite literally shake the ground under my feet and sometimes my windows.
At the same time, my 14 year-old just texted me details about a dance performance she’s in, and “BTW- I LUV U MOMMY.”
At the same time, my heart is held in a vice grip for fear of
#EyalGiladNaftali, and our soldiers searching day and night for them in hostile territory.
At the same time we’re out of cornflakes and conditioner and nectarines.
Oh, and I need to buy a gift because we’re going to see our grandmother, who at the ripe old age of 97 just had her 1st great-great grandchild. It’s a boy.
Our lives are made up of so many different frames – some of which pull rank over all others, but still a series of different passages that so often seem unrelated and even irrelevant. What I’m working on, with the help of King David’s little handbook is the transition from one frame to the next minus the jet-lag. In other words, I want to be a way smoother operator.
We see that kind of grace played out in music and dance all the time. In order to have a balanced dance piece, it’s not about how many tricks and flips are performed – it’s about the story that’s told when all of those pieces come together on stage… it’s about the moments in between the show-stopping moves that give life and breathe, beauty and meaning to all the movement.
If only we could be masters of that kind of transition in our own lives.
And, please G-d let all the frames of our life as they stand alone and as they stand together tell good, sweet stories.