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God is a family affair

My mom is in Israel for a visit and we decided to meet in Jerusalem. The first stop, of course, was the kotel. On the way in, I pointed out where I asked my wife to marry me. We separated, she to the women's section, me to mine. As I passed the tefillin stand, the normal thought went through my mind; I am religious so I don't need that. Another voice in my head laughed scornfully, telling me that I am a fake and not as religious as I want people to think I am. Ouch! So I stopped and put on tefillin, so tired that I put on the head tefillin first, in my rush to get it over with. Then I remembered when I first brought my parents to the kotel. It was their first time in Israel and they were excited. At one point, I left my father, of blessed memory, alone adn went off to pray by myself. A little while later, he walked up to me, strangely excited. "Guess what I did!" He sounded like a teen who had just done....I dunno, whatever teens get excited about. That was the kind of breathless look he had when he said, "I just put on tefillin for the first time since my bar mitzva." 
So, now, here I am, with my mom, wondering while I wind up the tefillin if I am the same age as my dad was when I first brought him here. And I remember him excited and full of life , while I stand here feeling half-dead, weighed down with bills and broken expectations. It's not all that bad. Maybe I'm only one coffee away from redemption. I know that I still have that spark glowing, waiting for just a little traction, a reality with a tiny bit less disappointment. It is there, hidden in the memory of my father's smiling face.

And immediately I think of my children.

1 comment:

Shaul said...

beautiful... so many moments that birth moments. Thanks for being one thats open to the pain those thoughts "what do you mean i'm religious" and "here i am broken down with bills" and for walking through them to reveal the cup of coffee on the other side :)