and I woke up to reply.
Ayeka? Right here.
Where are you? You knew
but I did not, do not
Hineni. With You.
I am here with You right Now.
And You never leave.
Ayeka? I call
because sometimes I forget
sometimes, I forget.
It pierced the 5am darkness. Not shrill, but clear; a single note repeated at regular intervals. Maybe a minute apart? Sleepy thought: A shofar? That made no sense. An owl. But a shofar did make sense on this day between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; the Days of Awe. And I felt awed. Every time I wake up to the ethereal voice of an owl in the woods (it has happened 3 times now) in the earliest morning hour, just as dawn's light is emerging, I feel a deep sense of awe in knowing that such a creature lives just beyond my window, nestled somewhere in the tall trees. We have lived in this house for 10 years and it is only in recent months that I have heard this particular wake up call rising from the darkness. And I wonder. What is it I need to wake up from? And my immediate response to my own question is: Not from, but to! What do I need to wake up to? Well awe of course. Awe in awareness of the Creator, the spark, the incomprehensible beginning of all Beginning-ness, Being-ness, the Mystery I can neither understand nor explain, yet somehow Know beyond reason.
Awe for the beauty, the bounty, the blessings that surround me, fill me and sustain me each day. And gratitude. Every time I wake up and realize that I am indeed AWAKE, it is with gratitude.
And then I fall asleep again and forget about gratitude. Forget about awe. Fear creeps in with longing, doubt, worry, suffering...sometimes with stealth and sometimes stumbling blindly into my closed eyes, ears, mind and heart. The clarity of a single owl calling through this darkness seems far away, vague, barely-audible, impossible to believe. And then it is near again. Not a wail, not a ghostly sound in the night, nor a shofar's blast that vibrates my bones. A soft sound, a whisper I must intentionally listen for. Yet it is clear and near and present. And I am present to the Presence infusing a moment. A particular moment in which I am awake. Ayeka? God asks. Where are you? Here I am. Hineni.
אַיֶּכָּה When God calls out to Adam in the garden after Adam and Eve ate fruit from the tree of knowledge He says: "Where are you?" "ayeka?" Genesis 3:9
Adam and Eve are hiding, and of course God knows exactly where they are, but they are frightened. Perhaps on a deeper level they do NOT know where they are (spiritually speaking) because they are afraid. Our fear can bring us closer to God's Presence or hide our God consciousness from us.
הִנֵּנִי Abraham is filled with God awareness, when God calls out to him, simply saying his name "Abraham." Abraham responds without hesitation: "Here I am." "hineni" Genesis 22:1
This is also significant to my post because it is sourced in the telling of the Akeda....the binding of Isaac. Ultimately as the story unfolds, God provides a ram (a shofar is a ram's horn) for sacrifice and Isaac is spared. Abraham was awake and listening for God's Presence.