Awakening with Gratitude

August 31, 2022Lee McPhillips Radlo

Judaism encourages us to awaken each day with thoughts of gratitude. I recite the Modeh Ani each day to thank the Divine for returning my soul. I was recently asked where our soul goes while we sleep. This poem is my response.

Modah Ani

She surprised me
when she shook me gently by the shoulders
and took me by the hand

"Trust" she said
and we were gone
Up above my bed
the attic
the roof
I thought I was dreaming
and in a Chagall painting
But this felt very real
crisp, clear, calm

She allowed me
to see the day before
and then all the days before that
like calendar pages
in a black-and-white movie
all my moments
all my loved ones
all my pain
all my fears
all the moments I was kind
all the moments someone was kind to me

"Trust" she said again
as she turned me in the other direction
where I saw unknown days
of unknown quantity
but I felt hope and love and possibility

And she said "Be you"

I don't remember returning
I only know
that morning
my prayers of gratitude
knew no bounds

*Please note that Hebrew is a gendered language. The word "modeh" is in the Hebrew masculine form. The feminine form is "modah." Some may choose to use the Heberw plural form, "modim" and some may choose the new Hebrew nonbinary form, "modet." Learn about the Nonbinary Hebrew Project.

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