In the beginning.

I feel like I am a free diver when I go on a day retreat. Free divers hold their breath and dive down for pearls in semi-shallow waters. When I go on a day retreat, just 6 hours, I have just enough time to dip in, grab something beautiful, and then surface to the “real” world to look at and share what I found. There are so many beautiful things to be gotten on retreat, so many beautiful jewels. Can I see them? How do I choose which one to take? How do I prepare myself to go under the water/ truly enter the retreat?

This time I took a week to mentally prepare. I wanted to get the most out of it. I never know what supplies I should bring, and I always try to pare down to make sure I’m not over-thinking it. Jesus and Moses didn’t take anything with them when they went away, and they were gone for 40 days. I’m only going to be “away” for 6 hours. There are art supplies there, and things to read and eat. How will God contact me this time? How will I want to be with God? Going on retreat is like going on a play-date with God.

This time I took a notebook that I’ve used for the past several retreats. I also brought a folder in case I had any art projects I wanted to take home, some watercolor pencils, and a very brief amount of Hebrew homework. While I saw a lot of jewels, here is the one I’m going to share with you right now.

There is a podcast I listen to where the speaker really gets into the first word of the Bible. It is one word – Breyshit is how it is pronounced (Bet, Resh, Aleph, Shin, Yud, Taf) is how it is spelled in Hebrew. That one word is usually translated as “In the beginning”. Yet he says if you translate it another way, it can also mean “with beginnings”. He also said that it is common to take the letters of a Hebrew word and mix them up to see what else the word spells, and it says “The song of the alphabet” – that God sang the world into existence using the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

If moving the letters around is acceptable practice, then I decided to do it too. I used my very limited Hebrew lexicon that I brought with me and wrote down all the words that have just those letters (Bet, Resh, Aleph, Shin, Yud, Taf) in any order. I then picked the combinations of words that didn’t duplicate any of the letters, yet used up all of the letters.

I got some pretty amazing stuff. I’ll admit that my interpretation is a little poetic at times, but it goes with the meanings of the individual words.

That one word can be broken up and rearranged to mean any of these things –

“Singing together” or “Together in song”
“This is the home of the best”
“The life-giving river of the Sabbath”
“Honor the Sabbath”
“God gathers us in with Him and claims us as His own”
And finally “True daughter of God”

Advertisements

Moses and the Messiah

Moses (Mosheh) משה Messiah (Mashiach) מָשִׁ֫יחַ

What is the same – the Mem מ and the Shin ש

What is different? The Yud י is added, and the Hey ה is a Chet חַ

What do the same letters mean? These are the qualities that Moses and the Messiah share.

Mem means water – a large amount, overflowing – waves, flood. Water with no boundaries. Chaos, overpowering. The letter Mem also turns a verb into a noun. It is actuality. Reality is made through chaos.

Shin means tooth, a sharp rock, cliff, crag. Consume, destroy. Shin turns a verb into the person doing it. (Who has done this thing..)

Both are active, both involve chaos and change of an overwhelming kind. Both involve a change from the normal to a totally different way of life. Both involve transformation from action to actuality.

What do the different ones mean?

Yod represents a closed hand, the right hand, to strike or pierce, a blow. Deed, work, to make, responsibility.

Hey – as a prefix this letter serves as the definite particle, the. It also means Lo, see, behold, (therefore) a lattice or window for that purpose. It is a frame that reveals.

Chet means to fence in, destroy. Private, to separate. Create anew, an enclosure, fenced in, ark, refuge.

They Hey in Moses’ name was pointing the way, saying look at what is coming. They Hey is a marker, a sign, saying look for something like this to come, but more and bigger.

Through the hand of power, of strong action, a new creation is made.

Both Moses and the Messiah are to lead people out of slavery and bondage – one from physical slavery, the other from mental slavery.

Kindergarten 11-6-13 Tattoos, and being “in”

One of my students was out sick today. I had V and J. It is a beautiful fall day and they were more interested in going outside to play than working. To be honest, so was I. Sometimes the playground is a better place to learn the real lessons.

The teacher left me a note that V had told her Mom that she didn’t want to come to school anymore because it is too hard. The teacher is traumatized by this. What do you do to engage a child who wants to be anywhere but there?

And then I looked around at the classroom. The two girls who had cried the first week that they didn’t want to be there, that they missed their Mom, they were still there. May be they had forgotten their anxiety. May be they had gotten distracted. Maybe it had gotten better.

Being a kindergartner is a bit like being a mental patient. You say you want to leave, and sure, you can, but it isn’t easy. It is hard to remember whatever you want to do for very long. Your mind flits around quite a bit.

Leaving school is completely the wrong thing for her. Since her home life is so messed up right now with her Mom in rehab, staying home would be impossible. She doesn’t know yet that education is her only way out of that hole. If you can read and you are curious, you can escape the terrible situation you were born into. It doesn’t even matter what you are taught at school – you have access to libraries so you can self-teach.

But, we are here, in this moment, and the teacher and I are trying to get her to just stay with us for now. Just stay, and try. Hopefully we can inspire her to “get” school. Hopefully we can engage her just long enough for her to work up a head of steam to see that school is the cure, not the problem.

We played the Dora alphabet game. It was fun! I love board games, so I’m glad I could play this with her. It teaches colors and counting and the alphabet and vocabulary. She did very well. There was another tutor nearby (a friend of mine) and she was encouraging her student. We could hear her say “I’m so proud of you” to her student and V. whipped her head around towards her words. It is obvious she is hungry for affirmation. I praise her, but is it ever enough?

She had drawings on her arm. I asked if she had done that and she said that her Dad did. She said that he made tattoos. To give a show of solidarity I showed her the tattoos I have in my leg. I knew I wore a skirt for a reason today. Usually I wear pants or a really long skirt so they don’t see my tattoos. Tattoos aren’t as taboo as they were, but they still have some stigma. She saw my tattoos and I was “in.” We are part of the same tribe.

J still doesn’t know the alphabet. Still. There are four different people working with him. I’m starting to think that he can do better but he likes the attention. I’m just not sure what tool is required to get into his head. He has to do better. There are certainly impulse and anger issues. I suspect his parents don’t work with him at home either.

I get so frustrated with how many children are seen as an afterthought. It isn’t their fault that they were conceived. There has to be a better way of getting young people to understand the huge responsibility that is being a parent – before they can become parents. No child should be unwanted or unloved.