My suspicion is that Life is one large and small Cosmic Game of Hide and Go Seek. We take turns hiding and seeking, beginning with Adam and Eve, hiding in the Garden, after eating the Fruit and finding out about You Know What.
The Game comes to Life when U KNOW HU, my name and spelling for God, in secular contexts (long before Harry Potter), calls out to them: "Ayeka?" "Where Are You?"
Ever since, God continues to call out to each of us, as often as we choose to tune in, that we hear the call, "Where Are You?" and Play the Game (or not, and leave HU/Who Seeking).
Allowing God to find us may have the look and feel of people helping each other, as the ways they respond: "Hineni!", what Abraham answered, as did Moses, generations later; "Here I Am!"...ready for whatever and HU-ever: ready to give attention and time to what and who/HU you/U see and are ready to do.
Taking turns with this Game means that there are times you will need and want to find U KNOW HU and cannot find HU/who or U/you. Paradoxically, ways to find God are through the same means by which to respond when you hear God's call. You seek and find God by seeking and finding Blessings, and by making them happen, noticing more and appreciating more of who/HU you are with, in sharing Life’s Journey.
I felt that interplay the weekend of my birthday. It began with the blessing from B’nai Israel leadership that I switch Shabbat service dates for February so that I could have a quiet Shabbat evening with my family. Thanks to that blessing that included switching out of a Shabbat morning service, I was able to surprise my spiritual brother, friend and partner, David Freed, who was giving the drash at the monthly traditional service at Beth Sholom, in Napa, under the leadership of Max Schleicher, who also enriches our services on occasion, (and joins Larry Grossman and me, in leading services for the Days of Awe). Not only was that Shabbat morning rich in the experience of visiting my previous community (and seeing folks like the Noonans, equally at home at CBI as they are at CBS), but it turned out that I had chanced to visit on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of that monthly service; so, my presence was touching to all of those celebrating that milestone.
It was a rewarding reunion, capped by Max inviting and encouraging everyone to come down to CBI, on occasions when we are in session, and they are not, for our flavor of traditional Saturday morning services. I was very touched by that invitation to the Napa community, to feel at home with us, whenever they like. It was an enriching spirit of partnership and friendship, and a visit that was rewarding in ways I could not have anticipated.
Gifts of the presence/presents of U KNOW HU continued to flow the next morning, Sunday, of my birthday weekend, thanks again to the blessing and well wishes of B’nai Israel leadership, in rejoicing in my opportunity to visit my original community home, where I am Rabbi Emeritus, Kol Shofar, for a momentous occasion. It was time for them to say good-bye to the building that had been their home since we moved there, in June 1984, after over 20 years of wandering in the wilderness of Marin: the multipurpose rooms of two different JCCs in San Rafael , before years of setting up our tents in rented schools in San Rafael and Larkspur. This occasion was to celebrate and commemorate the last day at home before an anticipated 16 month sojourn back into the wilderness, as they rebuild their home for tomorrow’s needs.
I was privileged to open up the speeches for the over three hundred assembled, and I reminded them that 24 years of being at home should not diminish the significance of the years of wandering that came before and shaped the character of the community, with its learning to value and focus on people and programs rather than buildings and structure. This upcoming sojourn would be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the roots through which the synagogue created its ideology and shaped its character, especially for those who had not known the wilderness experience.
Marching with the Torahs, down the block, to the new temporary home for prayer, Westminster Presbyterian Church, we were greeted by church children and elders along the route in warm welcome. It reminded me how Reverend Huneke, still the spiritual leader, had welcomed us to our new home back in 1984.
How amazing that these two significant events, in my two previous community homes, took place on my birthday weekend, and that my participation, in each, was made possible, thanks to the love and blessing of my present community. It felt like God had found me, even as I found and cherished God’s Presence/presents, through so many blessed moments.
Playing the Game of Life, beginning with Hide and Seek, and extending it, in finding God’s blessings, through people and circumstances that are part of your Life Journey, can provide the insight and inspiration to make of your life a blessing, even in times of stress and overwhelm, such as we find ourselves facing, in today’s difficult, confusing, and frightening times. Knowing that you/U are not alone, and that we can be here for one another, in all of our relationships and associations, can enable us to hold hands and find our way through the dark stretches of Life.
So, on we go…Tag! You/U are It/it!
Oh, and Happy Purim, a time of lightheartedness and fanciful dreams, as to how we can get out of life’s messes, with humor and hope, and lots of laughter, nervous and otherwise.
I look forward to seeing you in costume to celebrate Purim and the Persian version of Hide and Go Seek…find God in the Megillah!
Let’s find each other at the shul on Monday Evening, March 9, at 7PM, the one month, to the day, anniversary of my birthday.