A Mom in Service

Very often, especially lately, most of my writing has concerned the always unpredictable, and too often unpleasant day in and day out episodes of my kids’ lives.  Because I am first and foremost a mom, this is the natural order of things.

But I am also a healer, a singer, and more often than not a Life-Cycle Officiant.  Life-Cycle Officiant can mean many things but in this instance I am referring to my role as a Cantor.  This past Saturday eve I presided over a Bar Mitzvah and of the hundreds I have guided, this one, I won’t soon forget.

Above and beyond my usual heart connection and ability to hold the space for all present, I had to summon all of my mama bear energy as I held an even greater space for this very special Bar Mitzvah boy, who had some time ago lost his father.

There we were, in the middle of the service – he had just delivered his speech and I stepped forward to share a song I had selected just for him, just for this moment.

The song is called Grace and though I admit I do tend to modify lyrics from time to time in order to make them more appropriate for the setting, in this case the modifications were subtle.   The song, originally recorded by Saving Jane, wholly represented the mood, timbre and experience of this child, and yes, for me as well.

No sooner had I begun singing the first line: “I don’t want to see anything . . . I don’t want to be lost again. . .” then the Bar Mitzvah boy’s emotion came flooding through.  Within a minute all two hundred people in the ballroom were crying with, and for him.

So I did the best that I could and my maternal instincts kicked in.  I rubbed his back, encouraged him to breathe and held his hand through the rest of the song.  His mother joined us on the stage to deliver her spiritual charge all the while holding her baby who try as he might, couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.

There we were, his mom and his cantor energetically, physically and spiritually supporting this brave and beautiful soul.

For all of us in professions that demand our impeccability, integrity, and our talent, we should never stray too far from the core of who we are.  We can never be so deep in the weeds that we forget that our natural training as mothers can serve us and those around us in ways that are immeasurable.

To me living a life of service is a natural extension to living my life as a mom.  Never was that more apparent than center stage last night.  In the most intimate and yet public of moments, I became, in the truest sense of the word, a mother, and somehow that was all we needed to get through.



3 Responses to A Mom in Service
  1. Jenn Deutsch
    March 27, 2011 | 8:38 pm

    Cantor Shira,

    WOW! That hand you reached out, and that touch to comfort this amazing bar mitzavah boy, and that connection is what makes you special and those you work with shine. By the rubbing of the back and encouragement to breathe and being there in a very public moment, there is no way he could be lost. A wise Rabbi once said, “we need to hold hands ….. it is as simple as that to make ourselves, community and lives work and get through the easy, hard, joy and sad.” See people do listen to clergy when they deliver sermons. The song is so touching!


  2. Pedro Guffey
    February 28, 2012 | 3:22 am

    Really appreciate you discussing this blog article.Thanks Again. Excellent.

    • Diva-Mama
      February 28, 2012 | 8:00 am

      Thank you, Pedro. The pleasure is mine and I appreciate your having taken the time to let me know how much you appreciated the post.

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