Today is thirteen days, which is one week and six days of the Omer. יסוד שבגבורה, Yesod of Gevurah, Foundation of Strength.
I have been waffling for over an hour about this meditation and post. I was inspired by a Pixabay image of a father and son. I thought – yes, exactly. The true foundation of a person’s strength is the strength of their bonds with other people. This is such a core value in Judaism. I should use a picture of my family to illustrate this.
And then I thought – should I really do that to my kids? And this conundrum sat in my head for over an hour. An hour that I should be sleeping. Try as I might to meditate on discipline, I have yet to find a way to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
All accomplishments rely on human connections
Human connections as the foundation of strength. You don’t have to be a parent to feel this. It’s why Facebook and the rest of the social media platforms have such a hold over us. I’ve been listening to The Dream podcast. First, it emphasizes the human need for social interaction and the deep ways that we trust other humans more than we trust institutions.
Yet, it also has me thinking about all the ways that foundational values can be twisted. From prosperity theology to the casual erasure of the Jewish origins of Proverbs 31, it is an interesting podcast to consume while attempting to sink into Jewish wisdom.
As the podcast reminds me, the need for relationships is so fundamental to human existence: to be seen, to be accepted, to be wanted. When relationships are healthy, they are the foundation of strength.
The bedrock of my strength is my family
I am deeply blessed that as flawed as I am, my primary adult desire–to find a partner and build a family–has been fulfilled. While perhaps the least “feminist” aspect of my personality, the desire for belonging is entirely normal. Again, I fully respect that not everyone wants to be a parent — and not everyone who wants to be a parent is able to. I also know that there is nothing greater than watching my kids’ minds grow, learn, and transform.
There are many other things I have wanted to do professionally — build a peace culture, transform the international and national political paradigm, market products people need when they need them, and help people connect with like-minded people to achieve collectively what is nearly impossible to achieve individually. All of those career goals were focused on my individual contribution to the world. At the back of my mind, while working and while surviving thyroid cancer, it was the yearning for a partner on the journey that left the deepest hole in my heart.
And so, perhaps the thing I need to do today is step back from ruminating on discipline. I need to recognize that my strength comes from my family. And relish that reality while I prepare to welcome in the Sabbath Queen.
What is the deepest source of your strength? When everything material is stripped away, how do you stay connected to your vision?
Previously on the thirteenth day of the Omer
13 Days 2018 / 5778: Building a firm foundation of strength that incorporates humans and ideas.
13 Days 2017 / 5777: Reverence as the bedrock of strength.