Today is Rosh Hashanah (I know it starts at sundown). I am not Jewish by any measure, but It is definitely a day I mark.
There was a night about 13 ‘Murican years ago when I went to a Rosh Hashanah Seder. At this event I was invited into a cave-like family room and sat down with dozens of people to break bread and usher in a new year. I was given a very crude and I thought, at the time, rude introduction by the genuinely loving woman that would eventually become my ex-mother in law. I stood before the brothers and was judged. That night, I wasn’t sure if I was found wanting, but I was always invited back.
It wasn’t till I met these people that I understood what a tribe was. As people they were all flawed. I don’t need to air their laundry for you to understand, we are all flawed. As families, they were plagued with politics. You know exactly what I mean. But on this night, and on many others, they all retreat into the cave and they become the tribe again. There is laughing and merriment. There are shared sorrows and shared hope. There are things that people say or do that bring lightning to the eyes of other, but on these nights, the lightning is not loosed.
I did not understand it at all that night. The 2nd time I walked into the cave I understood. There is no judgment in there. No one is found wanting. Everyone is welcome. The only crimes are the high crimes. All else is forgiven.
Although this is the tribe I only knew through my ex-wife and I may never be invited back, I know, beyond all reason and doubt, that if I should ever find myself in that cave or among that tribe, there will be no judgment. Even uninvited, I think I would be welcomed.
That is the magic of the tribe. From the moment you step over that threshold, you are not who you were outside. You are not so-and-so’s husband or boyfriend. You are not my son that has failed me in any way. You are nothing but promise. You are nothing but a naked soul here to share in the time we have together.
And though with this new year, my ex-wife will bring another into that cave with her, I wish them both the best of luck in this year to come. I wish them all the best this year can bring. I wish everyone the best of everything.
May we all return to the cave and share the bread and honey with every other soul.
And to the tribe, I miss you all. Thank you for the good times and for showing me what a tribe is. I will never, in all my life, forget you or wish for less than a tribe of my own.