Where I think we are at right now…
Liminal moments, ones that are transitional, in-between, can be the hardest in our lives.
As human beings, we have tremendous capacity to handle things we never imagined we could tackle. In the wake of diagnoses, disappointments, and setbacks, we can find basements of resilience we didn’t know existed. Once we know with certainty what we are dealing with, we can go through the process we need to go through to reset ourselves emotionally and mentally.
Not so when it comes to liminal moments.
Liminal moments are the foggy ones where we can’t see the way forward. When we are in them it can feel like we have leapt, but don’t quite know where we will land. These moments can be good things like weddings and births where our identities are changing. One day we were only responsible for ourselves, and the next another person’s fate is tied to ours. One day we are only a child, and the next we are both child and parent.
As these changes are occurring, we aren’t quite sure who we are… and the people around us aren’t quite sure how to see us. That’s why these moments so often have ritual to frame them. Prayers, blessings, and mitzvot to hold us as we go through the uncertainty. It’s one of the most beautiful gifts of religion in general and Judaism in particular.
Right now we are in between. We have not counted all the votes and we don’t know what the future holds. We can’t land emotionally and so we are constantly in flux. That’s a hard place for us as human beings. We are story writers and blank pages can overwhelm us with possibilities.
So allow me to offer a blessing, a ritual in this in-between space the morning after election day:
El Rachum v’Chanun, God of Mercy, God of Grace, help me to breathe. I struggle to stay present in my life. To be here, now with those around me. To appreciate my life and the love of those I care most about. So often my mind is in the past or running towards the future. I struggle to breathe to bring myself back to this moment. To be here.
And yet right now, here is hard. Here, this present is filled with so much unknown. So much stands to change. Help me to remember what will not change. Help me to breathe and think of my loved ones. Breathe and think of my friends. Breathe and think of my home. My neighborhood. My community. The music that grounds me, the books that inspire me and the power I have to be light in the lives of others. Breathe and show me how I can walk with others in this unknown place.
I’m with you. Walking with each one of you.
Aaron Brusso is a rabbi at Bet Torah in Mt Kisco. He is an officer of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international professional organization of Conservative rabbis, a Shalom Hartman Institute Senior Fellow and recently received the Human Rights Award from T’ruah for his work on immigration.