My Great Grandmother’s Love Letter
I never met either of my grandmothers, let alone my great-great-grandmothers. But over the last decade or so, I have received much pleasure from reading the astonishing love letter left by my great-great-great, many times great, grandmothers and grandfathers, the sages of my ancestral line.
In the spiritual tradition I was born into, that love letter is called the Torah, (Teaching)., or the Old Testament part of the biblical cannon.
Reading The Art of Waiting, the book I reviewed in an earlier blog, has yielded more gifts than I could fit into one blog post. This is part two of contemplating the messages in that book which I have found misleading.
When I came across a passage that spoke about one of the matriarch of the Old Testament, the lessons of that story were once again quite different for me from the ones Belle Boggs attempts to transmit.
Such a Lovely Birthday Present
In the Jewish tradition each Saturday morning we read one portion “parashat” of that “love letter” passed on to us from generation to generation. And the portion of that letter that falls on the Saturday following our birth becomes our special “Torah portion.” When girls turn twelve and boys thirteen they get to choose a number of lines from their Torah portion, chant them in Hebrew and offer a teaching on the meaning of those lines.
The mystics of our tradition teach that our birth parashat contains special instructions for our life journeys.
The reading called “The Life of Sarah” is the portion of the biblical canon which happens to be my ‘birth portion.” I read it a thousand time, and here are just a few of the many lessons I came away with.
No Sarah Did NOT Wait
The God, Belle Boggs the author of The Art of Waiting doesn’t believe in (she tells us so), but prays to during the two weeks when she waits to find out whether or not her IVF worked, is likely the same God I don’t believe in.
The God I not only believe in—but see and touch daily through personal moments of awe, and in my encounters with clients—is an unexplainable, palpable, sacred Source of Guidance accessible to each of us if we are willing to follow the thread of desire all the way home to our most unmasked, most undefended self.
It’s the guidance that Sarah followed throughout her eventful life.
Sarah didn’t wait as Boggs tells us (pg. 42) “The allegorical message of her story is that by accepting God’s will with patience and faith, Sarah was rewarded with the birth of Isaac long after it should have been biologically possible. Though Abraham’s wife had little other choice than to wait, the act of waiting transformed her—from Sarai to Sarah, from childless and grieving to the mother of nations.”
It’s NOT Waiting that Transformed Sarah and Her Husband
No, Sarah certainly did not wait. She moved on. After choosing a surrogate to conceive the first child in her clan, she let go of all expectations of giving birth to a biological child. In fact, Sarah laughed when she heard the news delivered by the three guests/messengers about her impending pregnancy.
It is not the act of waiting that transformed her but the manner in which she and Abraham lived their lives. Digging wells, leaving their homeland, letting go of the familiar and trusting the unknown.
Sarah and Abraham did not wait. They followed the instructions of the same “still, small voice that bolstered Gandhi and King and everyone else who hoped to turn the tide toward a redemptive awareness. Sarah and Abraham refused to serve the false gods of the dogma of the day.
They were idol-smashers. That’s how they became the founders of a nation. Not by waiting.
The Fertile Heart OVUM Practice is also not about waiting. Those of us who wait for someone more qualified to tell us what to do often end up waiting in vain. We take steps. Small, medium and large steps from a truthful, grounded, well examined place within us. Each step brings us one step closer to meeting our children halfway.
Is there a step you’re about to take? Small? Medium? A giant step that gives you the jitters?