There is a voice of the body and desire that calls us. When we heed the siren’s call of this world and of our flesh, we get pulled towards the desires of this moment and pulled away from the world of faith and purpose. It is the voice that says: I want, I want. Or even louder: I need, I need. And sometimes (often?) we listen.
When we listen different things happen. Sometimes there is a moment of joy even in the I want, I want of the self. We feel, for a time, full and satisfied. But that feeling does not last, cannot last, because our hunger ever renews itself, ever demands more, and opens its maw wider and wider until the world itself contains too little to satisfy us.
Or we are satisfied for a moment, in the mud and dirt of our bodies (God created Adam from the Adamah, the dust, of the Earth.) Full, we are lured into sleep, silencing that voice of need and want by falling out of consciousness.
At the same time, we yearn to be found. There is another voice, a voice that is lonely and seeks to have its loneliness known. A voice that says: I love, I love. When we listen to this voice, to the still small voice of the life-point, we discover connection and true fulfillment. We discover hidden jewels in the people around us that the I want I need voice never leaves room to see.
And we find those treasures in the self as well. As we realize with love the beautiful dazzling quality of the people around us, our own goodness reflects and refracts back to us. Others are worthy of love and so am I. The shofar sounds and we are startled awake, startled to realize that connection and faith (in God? In each other? In the world?) is what we really need.
Every day we choose, we create the self. We decide. Will I listen to the I want I want voice or will we choose loneliness and love, loss and life? Seductively, the I want voice seems easier, better, more settled. And yet: it is the voice of loneliness and love that sustains us through the year. It is this voice that empowers us to become in the image of God, sacred beings tasked with healing a broken world.
We can choose. We can awaken from our slumber and our hiding. The work is hard yet we dare not desist. We will be repaid for our labor, but in currency this world does not know how to count. And this is the surest path I know to healing our wounds and strengthening us to be partners with God’s work. Heal us, that we may be healed.
I am lost. With you, I am alone. This year as the Holidays approach, let us in our shared loneliness discover the redemptive power that comes from love, shared loneliness, and the willingness to heed our own inner voice reminding us to love and be loved.
Rabbi David Booth