The heart of discipline during a pandemic: Day 9 of Omer, Gevurah of Gevurah 5780

Today is nine days, which is one week and two days of the Omer. גבורה שבגבורה, Gevurah ShebeGevurah, Strength of Strength, Judgement of Judgement, Justice of Justice, Discipline of Discipline.

Is it fair to seek discipline in a pandemic?

I’m not sure. Constantly I marvel that my husband’s job works at the same pace it did before our shelter in place order. Worry sets in deeply about other parents, especially other parents of young children. Sometimes, I worry about myself. Anxiety abounds for my kids, my nieces and nephews, the other children I know. Anxious they will be sent back to school and summer camps too soon because it is so unreasonable to expect us all to continue being working adults and 24/7 care givers. Knowing people are stuck in abusive relationships. People who knew they were dealing with mental health issues before the pandemic. All of us facing the trauma of our reality. Many cogent reasons exists to denounce discipline in a pandemic.

Structure sets me free

Equally true, structure to my day is soul expanding. Knowing there is a poem waiting to be ingested, a whiteboard waiting to gather my thoughts. Accepting that my hair will always start the day as a rat’s nest. Greeting our four-year-old with love when he bangs his way into our room, climbs into bed, and immediately starts knotting my hair. Focusing intently on getting my first grader through his assignments for the day, desperate to keep him on track. Not considering the reserves I need to help both of us study; because my studies seem so much less important. Looking forward, as the day arcs towards my meditation on another omer count, another refraction of the Divine. My structure isn’t perfect. It doesn’t fit into a normal schedule. Yet it remains vital to my sanity and my incremental shift towards deeper resiliency. 

Waking up to God’s call

May be you are too distracted by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Hulu / Netflix / HBO / AppleTV / Disney+ to hear the call. Even when I start to sink into something deeper, I am called away by one of those things. Is it possible to stay connected to the path of righteousness when all you want is to be able to leave your house without a mask?

Again I remind myself that tethering myself to love, justice, truth, and beauty will make it easier to ride the waves of anxiety, trauma, sadness, and irritation that are natural side effects of sheltering at home. 

I am reminded of this verse from Psalm 12 that I read this morning. (You’ll need to purchase Alter’s Book of Psalms or The Hebrew Bible* to experience the breadth of the poem with the same intellectual distance and deep penetration that I had the honor to experience.) 

Lean onto the Divine staff while following the Divine rod. None of this is beyond us. Each of us has it within ourselves to craft a vision for who we want to be and what we need to get us there. Myself, I realized that my anger, resentment, and harmful judgment are stripped away during Shabbat morning services. Wanting to sink into that part of myself, I chose rabbinical school — both to help myself become the best version of me I can be and to help other people learn the untapped spiritual technology bursting from within Judaism. 

Don’t feel guilty for sending the call to voicemail

It took me six years to enter school after hearing God’s call. So if you need a bit more time during this traumatic experience to binge Unorthodox on Netflix or Hillary on Hulu or Picard on CBS All Access, enjoy. If Tiger King or Westworld or an 80s-movie marathon helps you survive this battle with time, enjoy. The Ground of Being is with us always. Many people have many valid critiques of Interstellar, but the part it gets perfectly is the way time bends and melds into itself. That’s why I say this day continues to exist and reference my past meditations on this particular Divine refraction. 

Did Coronavirus kill trust?

Trust has been on a precarious thread for some time. When humans stop believing in the institutions they created, trust is broken. Herd immunity was collapsing long before this pandemic because people believe their own “research” skills over scientific consensus. Verifiable truth has given way to post-modern distrust of reality. Objective facts exist and I will choose trust in those facts, and in the ever-living presence of ultimate ideals, until my dying day. 

This day exists in many ways…

5779 / 2019: The lion within pursuing me metaphor.

5778 / 2018: This is the day of the internal / eternal battle.

5777 / 2017: Finding internal discipline while losing sleep with a child who refuses to sleep.

Read a book to distract you from distractions

               

*Note to Amazon: it is gross that you categorize Alter’s translation of the Hebrew Bible as a Christian book. It is the sacred text of Jews. The Jewish Bible is not a subcategory of the Christian Bible. It is a completely different book with a different trajectory.

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  1. Pingback: Strength within Strength, Day 9 of the Omer, Gevurah ShebeGevurah - Rabbi (in-training) Minster

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