living and eternal King
for returning my soul to me with mercy.
Great is your faithfulness.
This is my loose translation of the ‘Modeh Ani’ prayer, which is the first words uttered by an observant Jew upon becoming aware in the morning. The prayer carefully leaves out God’s name, which we are forbidden from uttering before we’ve gone to the bathroom and done a ritual hand-washing. I love the way our days are bracketed by this prayer of thankfulness upon awakening and the Shema, a declaration of God’s oneness and our love for him and our mutual commitment before going to bed. When said with intention, our liturgy, and particularly the blessings, remind us of God’s presence in every moment, every beating of our heart, every rush of air in and out of our lungs, even the most banal action of waking up is noted, appreciated, and recognized as a cause for celebration. Today is one more day to serve the Creator of the Universe, a gift not to be taken for granted.