People told me being a rabbi was going to be awesome. And, for the most part, I believed them. Most days, it really is great. Other days, it's harder. But some things are truly special, and I try and really treasure the truly special moments as much as I can.
Even though I'm looking forward to being in NY next year (and pursuing my dreams), I will miss Tacoma. I will miss the people, and the community here, and the special relationships that I've created. But a piece of them, just like all congregations I've served, will always be with me.
One of the most special things I got to do, while being here, was totally unexpected. I had a group of kids that were working towards a "Religion" Boy scout badge. They had to accomplish three things (as determined by me, their spiritual leader) in order to get signed off for their badge. One of the kids decided he wanted to talk about God with me and he wanted to create some drawings that reflected his own understanding of God in his life. Sounded like a great plan to me, so we embarked on the journey, together.
Well, little did I know what was in store for us....
Talking theology with children can be so varied, depending on the kid. But this kid...I should have known how profoundly life-changing this kid's words and thoughts were going to be on me. He's a deep thinker. He looks at the world and his environment holistically, rather than discreetly. For his "final project" he produced a series of drawings about God that reflected his theology. Certain and uncertain notions of God in this world. Where and when and how he feels and senses God.
It was, to say the least....POWERFUL. There was such simplicity to each drawing, and yet if you looked at them, exegetically, there was so much more there. I told him how special I thought these drawings were, and how much I loved getting to talk theology with him. When he showed me those drawings, we went through each one and he explained how it reflected his own thoughts about God in this world and in his life, and the questions that always come up for him, about religion and God. I urged him to never throw away these drawings - to hold on to those notions of God and those drawings forever.
Last week, I had to say goodbye to this young gentleman, who was heading off to summer camp. After we hugged, he handed me a book. He and his mother had created a hardback, published version of his drawings called "The God Book." I will treasure it always. On the inside it reads, "Dedicated to Rabbi Wood." Yes, a piece of Tacoma (and of this special guy) will always be with me. And perhaps, I will always be with him, as well.