Rev. Chani Getter
November 26, 2023
The world feels overwhelming. I am so grateful to have friends and colleagues who are speaking in nuance and subtlety. Yet, the general noise and voices I have encountered are speaking in absolutes – right and wrong, good and bad, oppressor and victim. It all feels like too much.
I have learned over the years that when things feel engulfing, when I feel too much, I need to step back and take care of myself. And so I did.
My wife and I went on a date to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley. For those of you unfamiliar, The Blaze features over 7,000 hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins. The creativity as well as the artistry is a sight to behold.
Walking through the maze, we stared at the brilliance of the skill. Each unique, each one so different, each one a masterpiece.
As we meandered through the path, I found the stress of the past few weeks dissolve, I began to feel more grounded, more connected to myself and my spouse, more centered.
As we strolled along, I noticed something. Pumpkins dangling on a trapeze swing.
We paused. The trapeze is a powerful image for me. My wife knows this, she took out her phone (she has a better camera than I do), and we took a picture.
It is a powerful image because it brings to mind writer Danaan Perry and his book, Warriors of the Heart: A Handbook for Conflict Resolution. In it, he describes the parable of trapeze. In his parable, he writes how each one of us have times in our lives when we know that something needs to shift. That we are moving towards something new. That our trapeze-bar-of-the-moment can no longer hold us, and we must hurl through time and space to get to the other trapeze bar. It has our name on it, and it is coming towards us.
Every time we need to let go, it feels like we will fall and be crushed “on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between bars.” That we will break bones and never recover. The truth is, we will fall. We will bruise. But, as the Baal Shem Tov says,
“Let me fall if I must fall, the one I am becoming will catch me.”Even as we stumble, we will be able to catch ourselves.
Standing in the cold evening air in the Hudson Valley, my hand warm thanks to my drink, I gazed at the image of a carved pumpkin on a trapeze bar and thought… Perhaps, we as a human species are standing at the trapeze bar, swinging ever so slowly, knowing that we must hurl ourselves – unknowing – to the other side. That the way things were, will no longer be. That something has to shift.
What that will look like, this new reality, we do not know… But can we each individually, do the work, so that the ones we are becoming will catch us? So that we will be proud of who we are on the other side of this. So that we can stand with dignity for ourselves and every human being. So that when we hold onto the new trapeze bar, we are proud of the one we grabbed.
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