Did you know that if you put enough pressure on carbon in a lab, it turns into a diamond?
I could barely sleep at all the night before. I got out of bed at five in the morning because I just couldn’t wait to get up. I put on my fake eyelashes before I even brushed my teeth. I had a shot of espresso in the kitchen while my sister tried to figure out directions to Hebrew College on her phone. I couldn’t eat a bite.
I wore a poofy skirt to services that morning. It was over the top, screamingly pink, and it clashed with Suzie’s tie, but it was so bright and cheerful I couldn’t help myself. Lots of people complimented me, but I could hardly focus on what people were saying. I was so nervous about my torah portion, I thought I might faint.
I sat next to Suzie in the Beit Midrash. It was pouring rain through the giant windows in front of us. My sister had my prayerbook. I couldn’t focus on what we were singing anyway. I thanked Gd for the rain. The rain was good. The rain was healthy, steady, rhythmic–it reminded me that there are some things I can’t control. Also, if it were sunny, I might have been so happy I’d have lifted off the ground and floated away into the bright blue sky. Thank Gd for the rain; it was grounding.
When I held the yod, my hand shook. I took a deep breath and began reading. It was the longest torah portion I had ever read. I thought my hand would stop shaking at some point. It didn’t. I was overwhelmed, terrified, awestruck… and still chanting torah. “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”
I finally started smiling while reading the last line. There I was, on my wedding day, before Gd and the whole world, chanting torah. There I was.
And I was there. In that moment, I felt as though I had been transformed by the pressure. I felt like while I was reading torah, I was a jewel held by an elaborate setting, catching the light. I smiled, and my hand stopped shaking, and I finished the torah portion, and the whole room sighed.
Thank you. Thank you for being my elaborate setting. Thank you for holding me, thank you for witnessing me, thank you for breathing with me.
It was one helluva start to a wedding day!
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