Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tiferet, Merciful Beauty and Balance

As we start the third week of counting the Omer, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat talks about tiferet, the sefira of beauty, balance, and mercy. When I was reading her journal this morning, I immediately thought of the image you see to the left, Leonardo DaVinci's Vitruvian Man. It is DaVinci's vioew of the balance of mankind. It's a beautiful image, and it has become an iconic picture.

I have been thinking a lot about mercy and balance lately. There is a great imbalance in things at home right now, and no way to correct that balance until we get into our new home. We're in a holding pattern until that time. Still, we're here, and we need to deal with living here, for now. This means finding balance in an unbalanced situation. Difficult but not impossible.

I think right now what I need most is to find both mercy and beauty in and for myself. Having a broken ankle has left me feeling helpless, angry, frustrated, useless... Added to the other stresses in the house, that is a recipe for bad things to happen.

I'm trying to take time every day for prayer. You would think that would be easy, considering I'm sitting most of the day with no way to go galavanting around the way I usually do. I think the problem is more that I'm forcing myself to be busy inside, filling my hours with mindless things that take me away from the four walls of my room and the oppressive feeling within the house. It's hard to bring myself back into the here and now, so that I can focus on prayer and meditation. It's too easy to allow myself to be distracted by FaceBook or Gray's music or the dogs barking outside. Still, it's important to make that space, that time, to be with myself. That is a part of being merciful to myself, I believe. If I can't show myself mercy, how can I show mercy to others?

The other side of that (the balance part) is that I can't get so caught up in "woe is me" that I lose sight of the joys and beauty of my life. Yes, I have a broken ankle, and yes it has a real impact on my life. On the other hand, I didn't do any major damage and am healing up well, I can walk with my aircast on, and I am able to do much of what I was doing before my accident. Yes I'm hurt, yes it slows me down, and no I don't want to use it as an excuse. I can say, "I can't serve at the bean supper on Saturday because I can't stand that long due to my ankle," because it's appropriate to say so. What I can't say, is, "I can't do anything because of this stupid ankle!" That's just not true.

Beauty is tough. I don't feel beautiful with the Transformer Boot on my leg. I don't feel beautiful when I am limping along with a funny gait. Of course, there's more to beauty than just what's on the outside. The inside isn't too pretty right now, either, because of how I've been feeling. I've been down on myself about "all the things I can't do" instead of focusing on the things I CAN do. Time to stop that, and time to find the beauty around me.

Last night, I stood in front of the mirror in my stole, my borrowed robe (thank you, Pastor Alison!), and my flat shoes deemed acceptable by the OS and family. I didn't stress over the fact that I wasn't in heels; I rejoiced in the fact that I looked and felt wonderful. As I said to friends, I felt rather like a fairy princess, although I'm not sure how appropriate that is for someone about to be ordained. Still... I am accepting my moment of beauty, and I'm holding onto it. I may need a cane going down the aisle at ordination, but I had planned on taking my owl staff anyhow, and I proved last night that I can use it just fine in that way.

All worthwhile things are born in pain, even if only a little. I think the pain makes them more beautiful for us, sometimes.
Post a Comment