Once upon a time, a tattoo was a sign of an outlaw or an outlaw wannabe. And at the same time -- in this country at least -- outward signs of faith or references to God were often thought hopelessly dorky and prudish.
Once upon a time just a few years ago, a little pine tree stood in the deep forest, isolated and naked. He wondered aloud why he was so small and skinny while a big pine tree standing just several feet away had so many full and lusty branches.
At Rosh Hashanah we are called upon to recognize our individual greatness by acknowledging our flaws, our collective spirit, by recognizing a Higher Power, and our responsibility to imitate that Higher Power by bringing redemption to humanity.
Since part of survival is accepting that you cannot change outside circumstances or people, it is imperative to accept and feel empowered by the realization that you can transform yourself. It's a super power.
I was 10 when I lost my grip on God. When I was 18 and moved away to college, I put God in a box and buried him under a mountain, in a quarry, in a labyrinth, on Jupiter. I'd be my own God.
Which worked, until Ted introduced me to Maureen.
One day, back in 1983, I had a major spiritual experience. I felt that I was in God's presence, and I heard a voice saying, "Remember, Beth. God is changing." Suddenly, I realized that God is not perfect.
In a grim sort of way, the only "news" to me about Amy's death is the date. After all, what really could have stopped this from happening? The only time I have ever seen recovery in a case like Amy's is by an act of God.