On an early morning hike, sitting here in the valley, surrounded by these rustic large rocks, I feel enveloped in God’s embrace. The early morning sun rises from behind the rocks, warms my back and soothes my heart. My eyes slowly scan the bumps and curves of the rocks looming around me. It’s as if I’m discovering God, feeling Him close for the first time.
Up, down, around and between, my eyes caress these larger than life rocks. Through the sun’s shadow and reflection, I notice the difference in color, shape and complexity. I see the variety in the tips and arcs, lumps and humps. Climbing and hiking closer and on these rocks, I notice the particulars in color, design and texture of it all. As I scan and discover the endless beauty, I sit back in awe and wonder about God’s greatness. These are not simple rocks, they are crafted with beauty and detail, ever inch reflecting the greatness of its creator. These rocks are a model, a visual that helps me realize a loving, caring God. He is so diverse, vast and endless. He encompasses it all and gives me what I need at every moment of my life. These rocks reflect and represent the endless qualities and are a manifestation of what He possesses. He has it all and is able to foster and give me what I need in every moment of my life. His magnitude is endless and He is able to access whatever any person needs.
As the sun slowly rises, its strong rays warming me, I realize with clarity that I am safe. I am loved and taken care of. This is a God who lovingly dips into his vastness and handpicks every detail in my life for me. As a craftsman labors and tailor makes its products with a vision of the end product in mind, never losing sight, that’s how God created and sustains me. He picks perfection, beautifies and forms it to precisely fit my needs. The details, beauty and depth of these rocks teach me all this. These rocks are a model, they teach me some of His ways. These rocks help me understand the tip of his love, majesty and care for me.
I am soothed, calmed and assured with this realization. The intense emotions, loneliness and doubt that overwhelm me at times are replaced with feelings of assurance, safety and security. In this moment, I know I have all I need. I’ve received and possess whatever I need to fulfill and live my life. He is with me at all times, taking care of me, ensuring the beauty and detail of my life. I am loved. Whatever it is, he’s got my back.
I notice a shift in my perspective and understanding of who God is. For so long I have noticed and appreciated His beauty in this world’s creations. However, it has been entwined with fear, laced with trepidation of this powerful, untouchable and scary force. I always felt connected to God in nature but was unable to transfer or interpret that into love and care. I never saw or experienced that love in my daily life. This changed for me on a recent trip I took to Sedona, a small city in Arizona surrounded by magnificent red rocks, crafted and shaped with intricate detail and depth.
As I reflect back on my journey that bought me here, I realize that it was Makom that helped me get to this point in my life. When I first joined Makom three years ago, I was angry, bitter and hateful towards Judaism and God. My experiences with Judaism were filled with deep pain, hurt, rejection and fear. At age 25, I left the community I grew up in and got rid of Judaism. I was alone, since my family and community didn’t allow me to come home because of my life changes and the path I chose. Anger, pain and sadness filled my days as I was struggling by myself. However, despite the pain, my soul was thirsty, yearning for meaning in my life. I wanted to connect, I wanted to understand and experience Judaism, but I had no one, except for my negative experiences which cast Judaism as unappealing and distasteful. That’s when I discovered Makom and my life forever changed.
Makom gave me a home and family, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Through the families I have met and the support they gave me, I discovered a whole new Judaism I never knew existed, a Judaism filled with meaning and joy. I encountered a God who cares and loves me infinitely and unconditionally. As I embarked on a new journey of rediscovering, relearning and reconnecting with my soul, my heart started thawing and the painful experiences gave way to beauty and joy. My journey has bought me to these rocks and opened my heart to a loving God and a joyous Jewish life.