I was determined never to look at my retirement account until it was time for me to retire and spend it. I applied for the position of oud player to the Court of the King, to teach quiet people to string words together like beads for the sake of heaven.
So – I said to no one in particular – I think I will. That was last year at this time, during the closing of the gates that we call Neilah.
I felt happy. I knew in my bones in my blood that this is the way I was supposed to feel. It was still light as I was returning the tools of my trade back to the Rainbow Village, a cluster of dwellings for the developmentally disabled where the synagogue meets. That was Saturday, September 18, 2010. That night I went to bed happy and I woke up happy on Monday, September 19, and I’ve gone to bed happy and woke up happy every night and morning since. I am a happy man. Ach Sameach Torah calls it (Deut.16:15).
Today is Sunday, October 9, 2011 and I intend to be happy today.
Last year, the guy who lives in the Rainbow Village who hums and clicks was
walking by me and it’s not as if he started talking as I am talking, he hummed and clicked as he always does but this is what I heard:
Isn’t it wonderful to be alive
Aren’t you grateful for this day and all the days of clarity you have been given
Isn’t it a privilege to have done your good work today with your mind and your hands
And to be tired in the sun with the added advantage of returning your tools to their resting places
That’s what he said
Isn’t it good good
To be alive this day in the afternoon
To be carrying the tools of your trade after having put in a day’s work
To have taken upon yourself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven
To have put on your yoke of service like all working animals and served well your Creator
To have been rewarded with nothing loftier than this perfect day in the sun that you will remember not only from recall —
But from your intention to put on your poet’s wild yoke and write stories and poems and songs and float them
Over the internet
Onto the wind
Out to the sea
james stone goodman, united states of america