March 28, 2019
I hadn’t been certain ‘vayomer eliohim’ were even proper words. Until three days ago I had been convinced the two words were phonetic aids to help visualize pronunciation. I had not been too sure about anything regarding those two words at all. In fact, I had thought I just created a title for my work in utter gibberish. (Utter, get it?)
In these past two months, I sighed at the realization that my current inspiration was drawn from these two words. Out of the universe of potential topics and numerous events of life, I deride myself for choosing to post potential gibberish of unknown origins. Yikes.
Then I researched. They are words! “Vayomer eliohim” is Hebrew for “G~d said,” and by the likes of YouTube, I am not the first to be inspired by them. Unreal. I have not been without material upon which to write. Like billions of people on earth I have been working and living through everyday happenstances of life. Yet I did not write. For example, I could have written oodles about my softening disdain for Saint Valentine’s Day. I could have written of the positive direction as my company, Winds Paradox, turned five years old. Or I could have written about my career direction in retail management with lessons in leadership and team building. Hmm.
Writing in my head, yet writing to no one. Desiring to write, yet not doing so. “Symptomatic,” I reasoned. “What an odd feeling and an illogical methodology to life.” I examined myself further only to find quite a few goals which I desired for myself yet had not acted upon.
So I began the marvelously uncomfortable feeling of change. First, health. I am changing habits.
My business. My sixty-eight year old mother (who is really eighty-four, but she and I are ladies. We lie a bit about age and other topics!) gives me gift cards for gifts. I squirrel them away saving them for a ‘treat’. But the treat I desired most was the re-design of my company logo. With a fulfilling combination of my mother’s gifts and the five year anniversary of the company, the logo was redesigned. Not the most graceful approach, but now I have a beautiful logo with the correct digital formats for websites, marketing materials and publications. This new logo inspired me to hire professional website designers to organize, design and streamline the company website as well as train me.
My self-improvements, part b. I have returned to try, in my own, weird pseudo-procrastination, graceless forward methodology to learn a language. Years ago, I made myself a promise to not worry about personal issues such as romance and dating until I had learned languages. (Yes, that is right, plural…languages. I concluded to worry about those issues seemed rather meaningless in comparison to time spent on training myself. Besides, I am not ‘good’ at relationships..) In the last year, I had gotten too busy to even think of those promises. Too busy until I realized those silly promises to myself were my promises. Why would I not keep a promise to myself, for myself?
I had been listening and watching a five minute YouTube video of the first chapter of Genesis in Hebrew. It is five minutes of the story of G~d making the seas, the animals, the stars. “Vayomer eloihim” are indeed the words “G~d said”. Two words. Of all the parts of the Bible chapter and of all the Hebrew I have tried to grasp, these two words are my beginning. They are all I have mastered. (Ahem…Ok, I have not mastered them at all. I remember them and, for two solid weeks I repeatedly listened and mimicked the video so that I might approach somewhere near a pronunciation of ‘Vayomer Eliohim’). I walk around the house muttering to myself “Vayomer eloihim” while accustoming my ears to hear my voice pronounce differently and my mouth move differently.
I had just begun this odd process of learning, marveling privately that I was ‘sort of / kind of’ following up on a promise I had made to myself. “I will learn Hebrew one bit at a time, one word at a time if I have to.” And as I brushed my teeth and searched for socks, I would repeat, trying to accustom myself to newness and learning a topic that has no presence in my everyday life.
I pondered the oddity of those two words staying with me as I went about my day. The breakthrough moment – when I realized the words had stuck – came in a particularly peculiar moment. It had been a nothing sort of day, neither exciting nor traumatic, yet part of a string of pleasant, endless wonderful workdays.
Then it happened. I found myself in one of “those” discussions when you find out what is on someones mind and it impacts you. And it hurts badly. You are stunned at their words. But as they keep talking, you know in your heart of hearts that had you been honest with yourself from the very first, you would now not be surprised.
Argue? No. Tears? Almost. Any words at all? Also, no. The person did not want my feedback nor did he realize what he had said. All my head could produce was an internal echoing whisper of ‘Vayomer Eliohim.’ Vayomer eliohim. “G~d said” made no sense in the situation nor did those words present a solution nor did I consciously choose them. My head repeated those two words. My body and my brain were stilled, calmed. My heart felt broken and my emotions were deflated, but I kept calm.
At fifty-three, I realize I am on the cusp of a new stage of acceptable social behavior. (Or so I think!) I can almost claim to be old enough to say whatever pops in my head ala, “Been there, done that, honey” and get away with it. I can also choose to totally not give a flying *bleep*. I realize I could have all along, but somehow now I see the two options as choices. Neither choice is me, at least not after thirty seconds. I have grown quite accustomed to stillness. It was all I could manage against the gales of a potential argument, against the blows of heated words. My brain grasped onto the most solid point of reference.
I wish I could say it was some moment of divine intervention which brought faith and kindness into a potentially volatile situation. No. I was not praying. I wish I could say that I had been consciously trying to manage the situation. Nope.
I was blown away. I really was. I stood face to face with someone, who was talking to me, blowing me away with his demeanor, his words and his desire for argument.
When he walked away from me, it was the first time I could think. “I hadn’t broke. I did not cry. I did not swear. I did not get scared. I felt no need to respond, defend or any action. I stood still.” I ran through my checklist of behaviors. I felt strong. I felt respect for myself. And he had walked away in confusion, with the argument left in his hands. I was proud of myself. For the first time, with this person, I remained calm. For the first time with this person, I managed myself. For the first time with this person, I did not let his words get so deep into my soul as to send me reeling backwards.
‘Vayomer eliohim.’ Adrenaline subsiding, and after a psychological status check of self, I was struck by what had ‘saved’ me. Yes, it was the closest branch for my brain to hang onto as the situation flooded around me. But I believe it was no coincidence that the words which gave me strength were words of G-d.
No, I am not going to get all ‘religious’ on you. That is not my way. It is not a lesson in theology or faith. Or is it? I cannot deny that in the middle of a storm, my calming point was the only two Hebrew words of a Bible lesson I could remember. I cannot deny the joy knowing how marvelously ridiculous (and effective!) my two words were. Am I really reducing faith to two words? Am I shucking the responsibility of the full realm of faith? Am I really proposing to center ones faith on two words?
First, let me roll my eyes. Second, let me say, “um, no, that is not what I am saying.” Then third, let me question as to why that would be so bad. Is not faith possibly boiled down to one word, that being “love”? Ok, I will cease. I am no Bible scholar. Oh my, am I not. What I do know is that two wonderful words from an ancient religion, learned in the context of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, no less – kept me calm and strong. “Vayomer Eliohim,” whispered within me.
The encounter’s impact has lasted through the weeks of February and March. In many ways I owe the individual a note of gratitude as I have subsequently made a few decisions.
I apologize for my vagueness. But my details are insignificant. Please do not be afraid of your own weird, calming points. Don’t be afraid if the message you send back to yourself, to regain your focus, resist negativity and to grow…are ancient Hebrew words, two words of Biblical text.
And don’t be surprised if those words send you boldly and bravely back into the storm to fiercely command your ship.
“Vayomer eliohim yehi or vayehi or.”
Lots of love and a kiss,