Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood

Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood
Celebrating Havdallah

Thursday, January 6, 2011

To pray

I woke up today with two thoughts in my head:
1) Why do we pray "for" something when we can literally try to *pray* something?
2) If life is all about the big picture, why do we focus so much on the details? How do we find a good balance?

I lay in bed this morning (the luxury of being on vacation) for about an hour thinking over these two things.
I meditated about the things that I want to actively pray - goodness, kindness, love, empathy, compassion, justice, health, peace. I want to pray, rather than pray for, so that the way I act in this world is felt rather than heard. Perhaps prayer does not require us to focus or direct our attention somewhere, but rather to be something, to transform ourselves into the best part of who we can be.

I also took time to think about the details. Sure, my head was swirling with the details of work that I must attend to in the next few days when I get back from vacation. But I also thought over the details of my life. I thought about my own personal resolution this year that has much more to do with who I am internally and the way I treat myself rather than some superficial promise. It's about improving who I am and the way I feel about my existence in the world. And I realized that this bigger picture begins with the details of my life.

As I got out of bed and checked my email, I found an evaluation from a master's class vocal performance. And NOTHING says details like an evaluation from a music school about your every sound, your every letter, your every breath. It was wonderful. The pieces I sang were great, but there were improvements that could be made in the details. There always are.

So, too, do we have lives made up of details that create a bigger picture of who we are, who we strive to be, how we choose to live. This morning, I pray love and understanding, knowledge and acceptance of the details in our lives as they transform who we are to who we will be.

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