Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely YHVH is in this place and i, I did not know it. And he was amazed and said, Mah Norah Hamakom Hazeh, “How awesome is this Place! This is none other than the House of God, and the very gateway to heaven.”
God was in this place but i, I didn’t know it. Love. Yes. Blessing. There unseen all along.
But also, darker things. Dangerous things.
Hatred and Antisemitism were in this place and i, I didn’t (really) know it.
Mass media spewing lies into dark digital corners and until 2016 I wasn’t paying attention.
Downward-spiraling white people struggling and seething, and i, I haven’t cared enough.
Slavery’s legacy ripping through a broken criminal justice system this place. And i, I’ve been white enough not to have to worry too urgently.
Immigrant children imprisoned (not just now but for years), and though my own father arrived here seeking asylum, a Spanish-speaking teen without his parents – i, I have been unaware.
America’s freedoms are fragile and vulnerable, and i, I didn’t know it. I took them for granted.
America, America, so beautiful and free, oh you could be the House of God — but we have been asleep.
“These truths may be self evident, but they are not self replicating,”
Dan Rather reminds us, “Each generation must renew these vows.”
…that all human beings are created equal. Endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…
So Awake, and stay awake – to the suffering and the corruption and the abuses that fester and grow when they are ignored.
But Awaken also — to our power.
To the light and the good right in front of us.
To the beauty of a sunrise reflected on water’s surface, radiant maple leaves in autumn, whatever nature offers near home.
Awaken to love in our families and friendship in our communities.
Awaken to the transformation possible we have when we make effort for what we value – a power we have yet to fully exercise or appreciate. All along these have been here too.
Waking up, we overflow. It’s too much. But we can strengthen one another to stay present to it all. Somehow we will find a way to swim without drowning through waves of headlines,
awake to what’s important, without exhausting our capacity to care,
Awake to the people right in front of us, un-moderated by screens and sound bites.
Awake to daily moments that remind us – people are good.
People can be fooled. Fear can lead us into darkness.
But we can also wake up and find — we are made out of light.
It is there deep inside. It has always been there. Mah norah hamakom hazeh – how awesome is this place. This moment. How amazing, what a gift, to be awake.