We count the seven times seven weeks (or 49 days) of the Omer, corresponding with the 49 day journey of the Israelites to Mt. Sinai. Counting the Omer is a mystical journey, a journey to our highest selves. This week, we traverse through the sephirah of chesed (kindness and love).
Today is day one, the first day of the Omer.
I dedicate this first day’s journey to those who are suffering – physically, emotionally, spiritually – and particularly to a young friend who is watching her father slowly die. With overflowing chesed, I/we answer her – and all who suffer: “I see you. I hear you. I honor you.” It is about just being there for each other, being present.
Poet/liturgist Alden Solovy offers Witnessing: A Meditation which invites us to pause, to remain silent, and to offer up our precious presence. (Make sure to check out Adlen’s many, many beautiful prayers at www.tobendlight.com.)
Witnessing: A Meditation
Have you seen the teen who cuts himself with a blade?
Or the youth who sticks herself with needles?
Have you seen a father force back tears while he buries his son?
Or a mother weeping with her daughter, wailing after an assault?
Do you hear the voices of the hungry, the lost, the shocked and confused
Afraid that they may never return from the darkness?
Brother, do not say: “I’ve been there.”
Sister, do not say: “I know that feeling.”
Rather, say: “I see you. I hear you. I honor you.”
Weep with me, not for me.
Pray with me, not about me.
Walk with me, don’t lead me.
This moment is not yours to repair,
Not yours to sooth,
Not yours to ease with the false balm of words.
Have you watched your daughter kiss her mother goodbye on the deathbed?
Have you seen your home consumed in fire?
If you have, bless you.
If you haven’t, bless you.
Have you stood with your sisters and brothers,
Not needing to understand,
Not needing to change the moment,
Witnessing in silence?
If you have, bless you.
If you haven’t, this blessing awaits you.
G-d of holiness and healing,
Teach us to be present as loving witnesses
On this amazing, glorious and dangerous journey.
Help us to stay awake to love and loss,
To be present for those in need.
Help me to see, to hear and to remember –
And so to bless –
The lonely and the lost,
The bereaved and bereft,
With compassion and love.
To stand with them,
As they have stood with me,
In the darkness,
Until I could, once again, face the light.
© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.