Rabbi Margaret Wenig in 1997 created a bit of stir when she broadcast the meditation "God is a woman and she is growing older" - which contains some lovely imagery:
God is a woman and she is growing older. She moves more slowly now. She cannot stand erect. Her face is lined. Her voice is scratchy. Sometimes she has to strain to hear. God is a woman and she is growing older, yet she remembers everything.
On Rosh Hashanah, the anniversary of the day on which she gave us birth, God sits down at her kitchen table, opens the Book of Memories, begins turning the pages, and God remembers.
"There, there is the world when it was new and my children when they were young." As she turns each page she smiles, seeing before her, like so many dolls in a department store window, all the beautiful colors of our skin, the varied shapes and sizes of our bodies. She marvels at our accomplishments: the music we have written, the gardens we have planted, the stories we have told, the ideas we have spun.
"They now can fly faster than the winds I send," she says to herself, "and they sail across the waters which I gathered into seas. They even visit the moon which I set in the sky. But they rarely visit me. . ."
Then there are the pages she would rather skip. Things she wishes she could forget. But they stare her in the face and she cannot help but remember: her children spoiling the home she created for us, brothers putting each other in chains. She remembers seeing us racing down dangerous roads—herself unable to stop us. She remembers the dreams she had for us—dreams we never fulfilled. And she remembers the names, so many names, inscribed in the book, names of all the children she has lost through war and famine, earthquake and accident, disease and suicide. And God remembers the many times she sat by a bedside weeping that she could not halt the process she herself set into motion. On Yom Kippur, God lights candles, one for each of her children, millions of candles lighting up the night making it bright as day. . .
"Come home," she wants to say to us, "Come home." But she won't call. For she is afraid that we will say, "No." She can anticipate the conversation: "We are so busy. We'd love to see you but we just can't come. Too much to do."
God knows that our busyness is just an excuse. She knows that we avoid returning to her because we don't want to look into her age-worn face. It is hard for us to face a god who disappointed our childhood expectations: She did not give us everything we wanted. She did not make us triumphant in battle, successful in business and invincible to pain. We avoid going home to protect ourselves from our disappointment and to protect her. We don't want her to see the disappointment in our eyes. Yet, God knows that it is there and she would have us come home anyway.
What if we did? What if we did go home and visit God? What might it be like?
God would usher us into her kitchen, seat us at her table and pour two cups of tea. She has been alone so long that there is much she wants to say. But we barely allow her to get a word in edgewise, for we are afraid of what she might say and we are afraid of silence. So we fill an hour with our chatter, words, words, so many words. Until, finally, she touches her finger to her lips and says, "Shh. Sha. Be still."
Then she pushes back her chair and says, "Let me have a good look at you." And she looks. And in a single glance, God sees us as both newly born and dying: coughing and crying, turning our head to root for her breast, fearful of the unknown realm which lies ahead.
In a single glance she sees our birth and our death and all the years in between. She sees us as we were when we were young: when we idolized her and trustingly followed her anywhere; when our scrapes and bruises healed quickly, when we were filled with wonder at all things new. She sees us when we were young, when we thought that there was nothing we could not do.
She sees our middle years too: when our energy was unlimited. When we kept house, cooked and cleaned, cared for children, worked, and volunteered—when everyone needed us and we had no time for sleep.
And God sees us in our later years: when we no longer felt so needed;when chaos disrupted the bodily rhythms we had learned to rely upon. She sees us sleeping alone in a room which once slept two. . .
When she is finished looking at us, God might say, "So tell me, how are you?" Now we are afraid to open our mouths and tell her everything she already knows: whom we love; where we hurt; what we have broken or lost; what we wanted to be when we grew up.
So we change the subject. "Remember the time when... "
"Yes, I remember," she says. Suddenly we are both talking at the same time . . .
"I'm sorry that I..."
"That's alright, I forgive you.
"I didn't mean to...
"I know that. I do."
We look away. "I never felt I could live up to your expectations."
"I always believed you could do anything," she answers.
"What about your future?," she asks us. We do not want to face our future. God hears our reluctance, and she understands
After many hours of drinking tea, when at last there are no more words, God begins to hum, "Aiyiyi-yi-yi, yiyiyi-yi-yi-yi, yiyiyi-yi-yi-yi."
And we are transported back to a time when our fever wouldn't break and we couldn't sleep, exhausted from crying but unable to stop. She picked us up and held us against her bosom and supported our head in the palm of her hands and walked with us. We could feel her heart beating and hear the hum from her throat, "Ah ah baby, ah ah baby, aiyiyi-yi-yi, yiyiyi-yi-yi-yi, yiyiyi-yi-yi-yi."
Ah, yes, that's where we learned to wipe the tears. It was from her we learned how to comfort a crying child, how to hold someone in pain.
Then God reaches out and touches our arm, bringing us back to the present and to the future. "You will always be my child," she says, "but you are no longer a child. Grow old along with me...the last of life for which the first was made." . . .
God holds our face in her two hands and whispers, "Do not be afraid, I will be faithful to the promise I made to you when you were young. I will be with you. Even to your old age I will be with you. When you are grey headed still I will hold you. I gave birth to you, I carried you. I will hold you still. Grow old along with me...."