Lesson 7: The Treasure Revealed
Destroy your own house, destroy it now!
Don’t wait one more minute! Pull the whole house down!
A treasure greater than Pharaoh’s is hidden under it.
Go and build with that a million houses!
In the end, whether you like it or not,
Your house will be pulled down and destroyed,
And the treasure under it revealed.
But then it will not belong to you –
For you can only own the treasure
If you destroy your house yourself.
How can you get the pay if you haven’t done the work?
Do you imagine the Koran is speaking lightly when it says,
“Human beings don’t get anything they haven’t worked for”?
– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
And it felt so timely – having just moved out of my home, setting up a new space for myself, and launching on a different life than I had planned. I do feel like I’m in the process of tearing down my life, in order to rebuild it.
This is also the week of Passover – a time when Jews do a lot of reflecting on life, and choices. In fact, this year I am involved in The Omer Project: Receiving the Torah Body and Soul – a series of workshops that my synagogue is offering to use the Omer period as a launching point for exploring new ideas and practices to bring health and well-being to each of us, and to our community. Preparing for Passover involves searching for, and ridding our homes, and ourselves, of Chametz – leavened bread, and more broadly, any food prepared from five species of grain–wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye. And, in many ways, this process also feels like a major tearing apart of one’s home, and also a reexamination of one’s life. I always think of it as a bible-mandated spring cleaning, but one that involves not only cleaning one’s house, and belongings, but also cleaning of the soul.
As part of The Omer Project, we are publishing online a weekly quotation from a book that I am also reading during this time – Omer: A Counting by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar. Last night, when we counted the the second night of the Omer (the first night is counted during the second Seder, which was Saturday night – complicated, huh?). The quote that was selected to go out last night, to ponder for the week was titled “Decide“, and the quote, in its entirety is:
Today I decide
to turn my eyes toward wonder
so that I may see the expanse before me.
Today I decide to see the possibility of my life,
so that I may open my mind to greatness.
Today I will do one kindness,
so that my heart may become loving.
Today I will pause to consider,
so that my life may become more deliberate.
Help me, dear God, to step
firmly upon a path of consequence,
so that I may make my life a prayer
of goodness and mercy, splendor and light.
I ask for a life of meaning,
A sense of purpose.
today I decide.
And, I think, yes, one has to make a decision to change, but one also has to accept circumstances and consequences that are out of our control. I had decided, long ago, that I was going to do everything I could do to make my marriage work (as I had done with my first marriage, which, in retrospect, I admit was doomed from the start). But, at the end of the day, I had to accept that no matter how firmly my commitment to staying married – I couldn’t force it to be. And I have to accept that this change has come to me, and I have to accept it, and move forward. There’s no point in getting stuck in recriminations, or in resentment, or in anger or in grief.
And, certainly, the idea of deciding to open my eyes to new possibilities resonates. And I love the notion of making my life “a prayer of goodness and mercy, splendor and light”.
So, whether you celebrate Passover, or not, I wish for you the power and wisdom to decide – to move towards a life of meaning, and a sense of purpose.