Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rock

 There are times when I choose to envision God as my Rock.  Solid and strong, steady and unyielding, tenacious enough to support me in even my most weakened moments.  Sometimes, when the tide is out far enough, enormous boulders appear grounded securely beneath the ocean's sinewy surface.  I have observed them so many times that I can see them in my mind's eye by shape and color, location and texture.  I know that they are always there even when they are covered in a mingling of water and salt, seaweed and sand.  I know that they are there even when I cannot see them for they have been there each and every time that I have witnessed the receding of the ocean to a place in which the typically covered sea floor becomes exposed and what lies beneath is uncovered for a few precious hours.  Sometimes, after storms, the tides seem to be drawn out even farther exposing the constant rock formations which are always there whether I choose to believe that they are or not.  It is not up to me to declare that these formations are there for them to be there.  They are there.  And in their presence, I can either pretend to believe that they do not exist when I cannot see them, or, I can simply acknowledge that which I am temporarily unable to see.  In one way, I am viewing the universe by only that which I can see in front of me.  In another, I am trusting that even that which I cannot see still remains.  Have I ever seen God in the way that I can see the rocks that are only sometimes exposed beneath the receding tides.  My simple answer is yes.  I have seen God in my husband's eyes on the night that we first met as his soul was momentarily exposed as someone who would soon after become my rock for life.  I have seen God in my daughter's faces as they were laid upon my chest only moments after their births, souls still as familiar with God's voice as they were with the sound of mine.  I have seen God in my brother's peaceful, almost serene looking face soon after his soul had been released from his earthly body only to head back to from where it came.  I have seen God.  And this is why I choose to envision God as my Rock.  He is there whether I decide that He is or He is not.  He is there whether I can see Him or I cannot.  Just as the rocks which remain steadfast upon the ocean floor whether covered or exposed, God is always there and He anchors me in times of deep sorrow.

This past Saturday, our congregation lost our beloved rabbi to cancer.  He was the rabbi for our congregation for the past nearly thirty years.  He was our family's rabbi for well over twenty-plus years.  He was there when our daughters were born.  He was there as our daughters went through Hebrew school.  He was there when Mark converted to Judaism enjoying some very lively debates with my somewhat conservative husband but treating him like a new found son.  He was there when Mark and I renewed our vows for our fifteenth anniversary.  He was there to Bat-Mitzvah our girls and when I felt called to volunteer as a Spiritual Care Counselor at our local hospital, I felt a sense of pride from him as he talked to me about our patients.  And today, Mark, myself, and our four Angel Daughters were there with the rest of our congregation to wish his soul a remarkable journey and to thank God for having lent him to us for as long as he did even though it did not seem nearly long enough.  I envisioned him officiating at the girl's weddings someday...
These photos are two that I was quickly able to dig out this afternoon after returning home from the funeral.  They were taken almost twelve years ago at Angel Daughter Number One's Bat-Mitzvah when she was just thirteen years old.(And yes, all of the Bat and Bar Mitzvah students were just a little bit frightened of rabbi.  Well, maybe a lot frightened.)  A couple of years ago, Rabbi and I became "Facebook friends" and each time I would post something about one of my daughters accomplishments he would be one of the first people to "like" it.  He would often leave me notes of praise about my girls and I could always tell that he was "kvelling" about their talents and achievements.  The last time I saw him, we were standing outside of the synagogue talking briefly after the High Holy day services in October.  He was frail and quite pale and much softer-spoken than he had been in the past.  But he could not let me go without telling me how much he enjoyed our exchanges on Facebook and how much he loved being able to keep up with the girls through my posts.  My two oldest daughters went on to "friend" him after that, and they too, began to receive "likes" from our rabbi.  He was the proud "father" of hundreds of people.  Thank you, dearest Sherri, Steven and Gavriella for sharing him so generously with all of us.  It could not have always been easy but you all did so with such grace and benevolence.

As I immerse myself in the deep sadness of our rabbi's death, I will cling to my Rock knowing that rabbi is no longer suffering, no longer in pain and is now in the company of God and the angels who he spent so much of his life teaching about and trusting in.  Rabbi Krause always knew that God was there, but now, he knows that God is there and that is something that I pray his family can take some comfort in as they do their very best to soldier on without him here.


8 comments:

Miss A said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, he seemed like a quite a great man. It's a beautiful piece you wrote for him and I know that He has welcomed him.
Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Great post my love

Ness said...

First of all, I am so sorry for your collective loss as a community and especially as a family. You could just look at his face and see the kind face of God. I would have loved him, especially talking to him. You all have been so blessed to have him in your lives.

In those pictures your Angel daughter looks exactly like you.

And, in closing, I bet The Rabbi asked God for a WiFi connection so he could read your FB page and those of your Angels.

All my love, prayers and thoughts as your Temple makes its peace with the great loss of The Rabbi.

Love,

Ness

Mark said...

I thought that was you in the photos.
Yes, a big loss for his Family and your spiritual community.
I'm so glad that he was there for you though all you mentioned. We should all have a leader like him.
Take care.
mark

Ginny said...

Debra,

I am so sorry for your loss. In times like these, I am happy to have God to get me through. Cling close to Him.

Hugs,
Ginny

Angella Lister said...

i am sorry for the loss of this man who has been such a rock in your life. i love your mediation on knowing God, seeing God in your husbands eyes, your children's faces, in this man's work with his congregation. you are blessed to have had him, and to have understood the blessing of him while he was there.

this is beautiful, spiritual writing, Debra, a gift to us.
thank you. so much love.

ps I too thought that was you in the photos.

deb colarossi said...

What incredible words.
Oh that we could touch people in our lives... this is what it's all about.
Sorry for how you must be feeling . Take time with the grief.

Tracy said...

Debbie, I am truly sorry for your loss of such an important person in your life. I know how that feels to feel as if you are standing on your own holding a ball of faith and wondering, 'what do I do now?' I know you will hold his memory deep within...be gentle with yourself...

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