Baruch, The Blessed One
In the spirit of Hope for this New Year of 2013, I offer you a story I penned for a healing service at my church. Rediscovering it over the Christmas holidays, I realized that it was a poignant way for each one of us to embark on our journey through this New Year with our eyes and our hearts open with compassion, mercy, faith, and especially love.
Baruch, the Blessed One
In the place that has always been and forever will be, the Holy One wonderfully and tenderly created Baruch, the Blessed One. The Holy One knew every hair on his head, and counted all the days of his life. The Holy One knew him intimately, his thoughts, his fears, and his dreams. And now it was time for Baruch, the Blessed One to set out on his journey of life.
The Holy One spoke, “My blessed one, I formed your inner parts and carefully knitted you together, one sacred knot after the other. You are beautifully made. And I am proud of you. I treasure your beauty, your dignity, and that you are a part of me. I have one more gift before you step through the Holy Door. It is the gift of Light. It is a sacred piece of me so that you will remember that I am always with you from now until you return again into my open arms. Take this light and all I ask is that you protect it, let it shine. You have a journey ahead of you and you will need my light. There will be moments that your candle will glow brilliantly but I warn you to be prepared for the dark night, and sadly you will face a dark night. Trust me Blessed One, tend to the light. The Light will see you back to me and so much more.”
Baruch stepped out of the Holy Door, leaving the heavens to his back. He looked over his shoulder and the Holy One was there. He waved back to his Creator, his Father, his Friend. And then set off on his journey carefully bearing the light in his hands. In the beginning it was easy to carry the light. And he noticed that it made people happy to see his light. He crossed the plains, climbed mountains, and walked with bare feet through cool streams and lush beds of clover. He was humbled by the beauty of creation. Baruch, the Blessed One made friends and broke bread with them, the candle placed in the center of the table. He carried the light into chapels, cathedrals, mosques, and temples and watched as people bowed before the light. He walked many miles on the pilgrim’s road and the light became his companion, his trusted friend. He shared his thoughts, worries, and dreams with the Light. Until one day his path crossed through a battlefield where he heard screams, moans, and bombs going off all around him. Their were young men, women, and children all calling out in pain, “Abba, Abba, where are you?” He saw the candle flicker for the first time and it frightened him. But he stood strong and lifted the light above his head for all those fighting to see. He continued on his path, feeling a little heavier by what he had seen. And then he heard a babies laughter and watched as his light strengthened in joy so he could continue on.
Years faded into years and Baruch, the Blessed One began to realize that the light not only offered him comfort but also had the power to comfort those who crossed his path. Regardless, the years had indeed taken their toil on his body and spirit. Slowly Baruch, the Blessed One noticed that his shoulders began to hunch over little by little by the weight of the suffering he witnessed on his journey. At night, he would walk the streets and see the people huddled together to keep warm. They were hungry, dirty, worn. He could barely look into their eyes. Baruch, the Blessed One felt helpless. How do I feed all these people, clothe them, find a bed for their head. There are so many, so very many. He felt helpless so he lifted his light and took their suffering onto his back. It surprised him because his light had the power to lift even their poor spirits, giving them a flame of hope.
He walked down the halls of hospitals and all the bald-headed children peered at him through the window. He could barely lift the light for his sadness but then one of the children smiled at him and raised her hand for Baruch to lift the candle higher so they could see it. The children cheered. And Baruch was humbled by their courage.
Baruch, the Blessed One continued on the path but he felt lost, fearful, and angry. He stopped and crumbled to his knees and set the light before him. He wept, and wept, and wept. This life, this journey, death scared him. How could their be such beauty and such ugliness? How could their be such joy and then enormous suffering, especially in the wise eyes of a child? Why must some live with empty bellies and spirits while others have blessings overflowing? Why must I say goodbye to those I love?
Baruch, the Blessed One did not feel blessed anymore. He could feel the ache of humanity bearing down on him, his tears spilling out over the Light. The sickness, the wars, the earthquakes, the hunger, the betrayals, the darkness, and death. It was all too great and his shoulders began to collapse over the light. It became dark all around, quiet, empty. And then he heard a whisper, a familiar voice deep within him. “Trust me, all you have to do is keep the light burning. I will see you through. I will see you through the pain, the suffering, the darkness. Just tend to my light Blessed One”
At that moment, Baruch, the Blessed One felt a tap on his shoulder, so he lifted up and there was only a mere spark flickering on his candle. He turned around and behind him stood another Blessed One with her candle held out to nourish Baruch’s flame. Their lights touched and Baruch nodded humbly in thanksgiving. And then continued on the path of the unknown, the path of the unpredictable, the path laden with both joys and sorrows, pain and suffering, joy and laughter, but always Love, much Love. The day finally arrived when Baruch, the Blessed One was invited by the Angels to return back through the Holy Door. The Holy One was waiting for him.
“My Blessed One, you allowed me to light up the darkness for so many. It hurt me to see you suffer, struggling with all your faith to keep the light burning. But you were never alone, my blessed one. I was always with you… in the chapel, on the battlefield, while you broke bread and laughed with friends, in the hospital, even in your own private pain, doubts, and questions. I collected every single one of your tears in my velvet pouch. But now you are with me again… forever, and I promise there will be no more darkness.”
In this New Year, may we have the faith to lift up our Lights! Just imagine what our planet would look like. A constellation of hope to light up any dark night!
From one humble Light-Bearer to another,