Reading an overdue library book at a ridiculously ungodly hour during the night, I came upon a line that, had it been any other hour I might have missed entirely in a book that was otherwise obscure. The sentence read, “God doesn’t rest.” Outside the wind was howling, my household was, en masse, deep into the REM stages of repose and I was unable to sleep due to the bean-heavy, vegan supper I’d ingested the night before.
Why I was so captivated by that line is still not clear, but it may have to do with the whirlwind of activity that is taking place all around me and the near-desperate desire to catch my breath. This is in itself curious since my life feels moderately paced and well thought out. I awaken early and read the paper; shower, dress and walk a good distance to my office. The walk time not only ensures fitness; it offers precious opportunity for daydreaming. At work I write, meet, plan, create, and, at the end of the workday, leave it all behind to enjoy down time.
But life isn’t stagnant, and even sitting on my sun-drenched patio does little to stem the unfurling of God’s Divine plan. By the time this magazine reaches the stands, one son will have finished his yeshiva studies and become a soldier. A daughter will have moved into her own apartment – one day studying at our dining room table and in a matter of a few hours, have her own home in which to read. The youngest child was, a few hours ago, barely out of infancy and today is practicing for her driving test while planning for the army and college and marriage and life. All of it happening while I sit on my balcony.
And it isn’t only the children; a coffee break conversation with a co-administrator results in my casually picking up the phone and arranging for an out-of-work acquaintance to come in for an interview that results in employment and sighs of relief from several sectors. All for the price of a phone call. A casually prepared cosmetics seminar for young professional women resulted in one woman changing her makeup routine, which resulted in a startling burst of confidence that morphed into a near-instant magnetism that brought a previously unknown man to his knees as he presented his “intended” with a sparkling engagement ring. All because someone gave a lecture. And because someone listened. For someone whom I may or may not know, sitting in a medical waiting room requires one sort of mindset while, perchance, exiting from the doctor’s office might mean that the entire world has changed. And am I the only one to ponder the split-second repercussions that can result from pressing the button marked “Send” on one’s computer?
For me, the wuddah-cuddah-shuddah moments that present themselves throughout any 24-hour day are often enough to make me want to hide. But hiding is never a long-term option for those of us who are involved in the “people game,” i.e., having/being parents, spouses, working, studying, concern for the community. And while we can remain beneath the comforters for extended periods of time, despite choosing either to emerge or remain hidden, life will go on. God doesn’t rest, and events will, indeed, materialize in the span of a heartbeat with or without our participation. Because even remaining beneath the blanket denotes resolve.
In reflecting upon my own recent decision to marry again, I’m often struck by the ease in which one choice impacts another. The “coin-toss” moments that make saying “yes” to the asker or “no” to a wedding venue can be enough to change the course of people’s histories. Even the act of writing these words offers the opportunity to consider why I’m awakening more and more often in the middle of the night in order to write, to throw in a load of laundry, to ply another topcoat to my nails, to read another chapter of the novel that lies open and face-down on the otherwise empty pillow next to mine. That the in-a-heartbeat flash that it took to say “yes” means that I will no longer awaken in the middle of the night without a witness to my activities, that I may have to answer the “why” of walking the halls, that in place of the open novel, the pillow next to me will be engaged by the man I love. It seems nearly humorous that the approximately twenty minutes it takes to stand beneath a bridal canopy forms a spiritual bridge between two distinct unknowns. How is it that a piece of silky fabric can alter one’s essence? That emerging from beneath that same fabric changes one from a woman to a wife? From an acquaintance to a stepmother? From an individual to a life partner? The movement isn’t large; two steps under, two steps out. And the world is, again today, forever different.
The dramatic wind that is blowing leaves and unmatched socks from the laundry line across the terrace has apparently agreed to share the stage with rain mixed with snow. And even as I shiver in the too-large-to-properly-heat living room of my Jerusalem home, I remain certain that late May will be warm in the daytime and cool at night, that my baby girl will earn her driver’s license eventually, my soldier son will follow both his commanders and his heart, my daughter will love her apartment and invite me for many cups of coffee and that God will keep all of us in His plans.