Standing at the Doorway

Elul Day 5

Lately I am relishing the gentle but steady structure of a daily writing practice. When I sit down to write each day, sometimes the words flow effortlessly; other times it helps to read something first and see what comes. 

Today I stumbled onto this poem in my files and read it several times, silently and aloud, alone and with a friend.

We look with uncertainty…

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.

–Anne Hillman

What is permeable aliveness? What is being born in us at this moment and how do we let it happen? How are we learning to love, daring to be human, to be vulnerable?

Sometimes I can sit comfortably in what is familiar and reliable, and sometimes those "old choices" must give way to the aliveness in every moment. 

I love the children's book Bread and Jam for Frances, in which young Frances the badger announces that she loves bread and jam so much, she's decided it's the only meal she wants. Bread and jam for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At first she's quite pleased–there's so much comfort in its familiarity. But eventually she begins to look longingly at sister Gloria's spaghetti, and best friend Albert's lavish lunchpail delights; she tearfully acknowledges that the old reliable bread and jam sandwich has lost its capacity to comfort and satisfy her.

I won't give away the ending, but I will say that even Frances has come to appreciate "the softer, more permeable aliveness which is every moment."