Happy New Year

At 3:45 this afternoon, I texted a friend and asked 1) Dinner? 2) Columbus? 3) Los Gauchos? And she said sure! Now I know most people who live in Cleveland don’t drive to Columbus for dinner,  but Tia and I did.  It was the very best way to start a new year.

For a Presbyterian, I really love the High Holy Days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. I know that this day is to be spent in the synagogue, celebrated with the call of the Shofar and by eating sweet apples dipped in honey.

I know you’ll have to suspend judgement, but I would call the car a temple of sorts, where we reconnected and spoke true truths – the ones beneath the crust.  Work, bodies, broken promises, therapy, relationships, new iterations of understanding.  It took me a long time to really learn how to pray, saying honest words to God about what matters most.  That’s what the trip to Columbus was for me – that’s what any good conversation is.  I know it’s not your typical sacred text, but the trip down was sacred nonetheless.

Then, yes, I know that a Mexican torta made with al pastor is not exactly an apple dipped in honey, but, with that slice of pineapple and a bottle of Mexican Coke, is a sweet meal.  A special meal, something that happens rarely and means a lot.

The shofar? Well, the whole way back, we listened to music.  My friend and I share a love for the same genre, lyrics-driven alternative folk (Joshua James, The Pines, Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, David Gray).  Two hours of music, uninterrupted by the words she and I needed the whole way down.

And, to do this – start the new year – with an act of invitation, friendship and adventure? Well, I hope that signals the tone of the coming twelve months.  I know in the next ten days, I will think about my place, my mistakes, and how I can rectify the ways I put distance between me and what God intends for me.   I know I will beg to be included in the book of life as I do every year.

I hope that, this evening, God noticed the way I entered this period of reflection.  Asking for companionship, doing something unusual, and listening to invocation and intercessions heard in word and song.  I mean business this Rosh Hashanah.  I’m taking it seriously.  You get that God, or should I say, G-d?  I hope so.