God is the glue that connects us. She/He/It is the whisper in our heads imploring us to be better, to do better – to strive for excellence, to walk the path of our higher, best self.
God is in the ephemeral breeze that cools, a laugh shared with a stranger, a friend’s encouraging text on a tough day. Religion is the vessel through which many inhale She/He/It.
“Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu laz’man hazeh.”
The candles burn.
“People all over the world are doing this very same thing,” I implore my children to find connection through the ritual’s words and candles.
They nod. “More latkes?”
Why don’t they revel in the notion that warms my soul reflexively?
We are part of the universal fabric of those who have come before and those who will follow us. We are one people looking for light in the winter’s darkness. All of us, whatever our vessel’s shape, all of us seek light.
“We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.”
Across the globe, millions of voices recite the Nicene Creed. “Just like we’re doing.” My children stare and roll their eyes.
“Is this almost over?” one of our tykes, unnamed to protect the guilty, asks in a whisper.
“We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
and to life in the world to come. Amen.”
We are Jews. We are Gentiles. We are all God’s children, part of one, connected human race. I pray, with the candles at my kitchen table and at the beautiful church we are blessed to call ours, that the seeds of wonder and connection will thrive. Dear, God, bless my children with the awe of endless wonder. And please give me the vision to see when they feel the connection.
And, on rare rainy LA morning when the clouds shimmer silver, God is in the puddles that arc their water in a big splash as I “speed” through them with one or both kids. Laughing all the way. Together. Connected.