When my son died, my world shattered and fractured. He was 16, the year was 2006. Three weeks later, the evening I’d been planning the day Justin died took place. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was in Denver, Colorado, to speak to a group of spiritual directors through the Center for Spirituality at Work, where I was working. It was evening, and the room was ready to welcome the attendees. Reb Zalman arrived, I greeted him. A few minutes later, as I stood quietly looking at the rough wood floor, wondering how I’d get through the night, an hour from home, I felt a firm hand on my shoulder and heard a gentle voice. It was Reb Zalman. I turned to him, and as he searched my eyes, then embraced me, he said, “I’ve just learned your son died. … May we pray? …” In the prayer, Reb Zalman spoke a sentence that changed my life.
Reb Zalman prayed for Justin’s new guides. In his prayer, I jump-started to the reality that wherever Justin was now, if he had guides, a dynamic of something must exist. I realized I had an untested belief that heaven was somehow static and a destination, the end of the line. I felt as if I was in an expanding bubble that was suddenly fluid and the boundaries I’d made–not knowing I’d even made them–were no longer in existence. That one sentence shifted me. Later in the evening, Reb Zalman sang Amazing Grace, and said to the group it was for Justin. I remember being surprised a Jewish Rabbi would sing Amazing Grace.
The concept that life after death included guides and a continuing journey of transformation shifted me. I was raw, open to receive and learn; indeed, the journey of transformation and healing is exquisitely painful and graceful.
Week five of Savor Life, Savor Lent, is Receive, and centers on themes of consolation, friendship, resistance, denial, anger, and acceptance.
I invite you to recall a time when an understanding you held shifted. Perhaps an aha moment.
Recall the memory.
Savor your experience.
Give silent thanks in your own words for the times when life shifts and we are open to new realms of possibility for ourselves and others.
Today I will savor in my heart ... possibility arrives unannounced. May we be open to receive.
“Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.” – Ezekiel 37:12-14