I (We) Begin Again…In the Beginning

It’s been a week since my last post. You might think I’ve been lazy. Or maybe you think I got busy and then tired out from Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret, which fell during this past week. You might think I was remiss not to mention the holidays or write about them.

In fact, I was still nursing my post-ACL-surgery knee and dealing with the first Northern California storm, which left my home in the Santa Cruz Mountains without power from Tuesday through Thursday. Additionally, I began having Internet connection problems on Monday, making it hard for me to access most websites.

During this past week, I noticed a recurrent theme: learning how to move forward anew. First, after my knee surgery, the second ACL surgery on the same knee in 14 years, I had to learn how to ambulate again. I had to do this using crutches and a brace. I found myself quite frustrated with these items, and by about Wednesday I had basically given up on them all. Instead, I was hobbling around the house in an off-kilter manner–but I was, indeed, moving forward anew, whereas just a week before I was not moving forward much at all.

During this same period, as I mentioned, we received our first rain of the season, but not just any rain–about 8 inches accompanied by 70 mph winds. This marked a new period for our region: the rainy season. We could move forward into the late fall with less fear of fires.

In the midst of this storm, I was supposed to go to physical therapy. I had driven myself to PT twice before, so I wasn’t too worried. However, the weather was enough to put fear into anyone. I put on my brace and hauled out my crutches (all of which I had not yet ditched), and I trekked off for the car. Once behind the wheel, I made it about two thirds of the way down our 1/4 mile-long (or longer) steep, narrow, and windy driveway only to discover power lines across the driveway. I couldn’t pass through. Instead, I had to back up a steep incline and around a very tight turn. I managed this, but couldn’t back up any farther despite my best efforts. I resigned myself to the fact that I was stranded on my own driveway, unable not only to move backward but also unable to move forward.

I sat in the car for three hours waiting to be rescued. The wind howled around the car and the rain and bits of redwood branches pelted the windows. I considered my plight. My knee prevented me from getting out of the car and simply hiking up the hill to my home. Like a baby learning to walk, I didn’t have the ability to take myself where I wanted to go, which at that moment was back to the warmth and comfort of the house.

I also considered that my knee surgery had created a sort of new beginning…a point of departure. For every point when something major occurs in our life constitutes a point of departure. This is the point when I learn to walk again. This is the point when I move forward with a new ACL, a new “knee.” And for now, things are different. I see things differently. I deal with things differently. I move through life differently. Or, in some cases, I don’t move through life. I have to consider each step, think about how I move through the world, work at becoming able to be “free” to do as I like.

Interestingly, each year on Simchat Torah we reach a familiar point of departure. We end the reading of the Torah for another year and immediately begin again from the beginning. We once again read the first Torah portion, “In the beginning…” Why? Because each time we begin reading again, we do so from a new point of departure. We do so from a different place in our lives. We are another year older. We have move to another place (figuratively or actually). We have new perspective, new insight. We begin the journey forward taking baby steps again.

And each time we begin something anew, we learn something new. Each time we look at an aspect of our lives as a new point of departure, we see it through the eyes of a child and we take baby steps. We are more careful, more thoughtful, more willing to be open…

So, just as I begin to walk again…just as we begin to read the Torah again…consider what you are beginning again. Or, what can you begin again? What fresh start do you need to take today?

Remember, in the beginning God created everything…We all have that Divine spark within us in the form of a soul housed with a physical body. We are creative beings. What new thing do you want to manifest? In this beginning, today or this coming week, what will you create? Take advantage of the energy of this week’s Torah portion, B’reishit, and create something new. Write your own Torah portion that starts, “In my beginning…”

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