02 November 2011

New Shoes

Alluding to the spices that were added to the sacrifices in the Temple in ancient days, longingly sung each Shabbat in the Ein K'eloheinu prayer, Yehuda Amichai writes of old love,
Maybe you'll remember now?  Like a man who reminds a woman of an old love:  'Do you remember how we once bought those shoes in the small store by the corner, and we laughed alot, while it poured down rain outside.'
I've thought of this line, over and over again this week, a week in which I've just completed my third funeral.  The faces of mourners, the looks of shock, pain and sorrow; the words with no satisfactory explanation and so the psalms, like waves on a shore, washing over the suffering hearts.

The hassle of traffic; the funeral workers with over-sized suits, extending kindnesses; an additional coffin (full) on the loading elevator, next in line.

As snow and rain fell from a tired pine tree on a hill in New Jersey while Giants fans scurried to lunchtime barbecues; nervous prayers turning pages in the assembled booklets, seeking a distant God; a gravedigger's two-way radio, barking signals from another corner of the cemetery while a man's body is lowered into the ground.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil."

And also, with all this mud, I could use a new pair of shoes.

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