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By Tad Campbell Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved
It is often said the journey is the destination. Simple words that if followed easily break apart the difficulties in life to simple, less harrowing steps: one at a time. Just as each day has a significant beginning and ending -- the two holy lights of the sun and moon, night and dawn, weekday and Shabbat-- the paths we follow also have such sacred moments. Nonetheless, our 3,500 year-old-history serves as a sort of compass. To go north we sometimes must first go south. To awaken to a new day there is always the evening before; moment-by-moment, step-by-step. I may never know how this story --that of my life-- ends. What I do know is that it will continue to unfold upon a host of adventures, some firsts and others continuous, following a map drawn by the hand of the One who calls us each by name.
I would like to think my inner desire to follow a life of Torah began the moment of my birth. In my first tears, sights and sounds, the Tree of Life blossomed within me as my constant companion. Here, I followed a series of significant steps -- quite literally from walking, to running, to dancing-- following in time to the inner melody of the life around me as well as He who created such.
I thought completing something meant my understanding would ultimately grow. Slowly I see each tiny thread is laced together into a marvelous tapestry. And while this may seem filled with bright colors and designs, it is not until I turned it over that I found the real truth. There, I discovered strings pulled tightly, others hanging loose, frayed knots and confusing patterns. Here, on the so-called other side is the life I am living now. The path I travel. The song I sing.
This tapestry may appear to others as I first saw it. But I am beginning to believe if we are honest with ourselves and in turn with others, we all will find the beauty in the undiscovered.
My search to find the Holy in all things deepens, growing like spring flowers freely moving in the gentle breeze. Such blossoms of the soul allow me to grow even in the face of despair. Do I see myself as a modern-day Job? Goodness no. Mine is an easy road compared to his, and many others. I do though think I have begun to unleash the Psalmist from within, composing words that tell of fear and joy, pain and sorrow, and the ever-approaching dawn.
It says in Psalm 113: "From the rising of the sun to its setting G-d’s name is praised." Some years ago my path gently began in innocence and wonder growing as did I in seeking G-d in the same flames we kindle each Shabbat, in addition to fanning those in the beating of our hearts. A sense of holiness has filled many a step along the way. But not out of anything I did so much as the voice of heaven tying off another knot on the underside of my tapestry, adding new notes to my soul’s song, gently illuminating every step.
This indeed continues to be a most sacred journey. One I shall follow all the days of my life. It is in this pursuit I continue to seek G-d wherever He may be found. Such light illumines my steps even when I am unsure. Faith is played out here time and again and I am reminded, as were the Israelites in departing the land of Egypt, that anything is possible. And some things even probable.
from the May 2011 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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