When you’re planning a momentous lifecycle event, people get interesting. Long-time friends come out of the shadows, effusive and loving, excited to attend your event and truly share in the celebration.
And similarly, there are those you thought were friends who stay mum. You don’t hear from them, they slink back into hiding, burrowing into their own fears and creating unnecessary distance for reasons you cannot fathom.
At my age, I didn’t think I’d have this much pondering to do over friends. But I guess reason escapes the fact of age. People are quirky and strange and that never changes.
Some realize themselves in whole fashion, becoming who they were meant to be. Others continue the same patterns throughout the years, repeating situations over and over. And if you choose, you get pulled into the morass.
I’m choosing not to. It’s enough to ride my own roller coaster of emotion between mundane and momentous. What I focus on, perhaps a bit too much, is the purpose of it all – why I do what I do, and should I be doing something different.
For the past 20-some years, I’ve wondered whether my true calling wasn’t a sort of ministry. I guess writing could be a ministry – it sure is a platform, right? But the idea of connecting people with spirituality in unique and untried ways, that really excites me.
I look at peers in the Christian faith who just create a “church” out of the desire to create a church. They worship in the basement of a building or a home, inviting people to come along, preaching Gospel, trying to blaze a path for others to access God.
It’s not like that in the Jewish world. Or is it?
Last night, my son announced his desire to be more religious. I can get on board with that, if it’s religious in an independent way. Not excluding others or following blindly, but truly loving the moment of saying prayers and connecting with community.
One reason, he said, was that in the religious world, people come together as community. And they lead the services. It’s not a show, with performers on a stage (rabbis, cantor) leading the masses. He wants to lead and he doesn’t want to have to wait to become a rabbi to do so.
It made me think. Why put on the show? Isn’t spirituality a deeply personal place? Why do so many of us rely on others to create a spiritual setting for us to step into?
I admire my son’s zeal and passion, and I want him to act on it. I want us all, though, to find that community where we feel we belong. In the midst of the conversation, he reflected that he often feels like he doesn’t fit in any one group. Neither do I, I told him, and I never have. I was the girl in high school with friends in every clique, never in a clique myself.
That’s a tough place to be. This idea of friendship pervades everything we do. To know that there is at least one person who “gets” you, who sees into your soul, and with whom you can be yourself – with all the oddities and goofiness that includes. Finding that one (or two, or three) person is the most difficult journey of all.