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a poem for world mental health day

· poetry,mental health,theology

I have lots of interesting and thoughtful things (of course) to say about this week's story of the ten lepers from Luke 17:11-19. About gratitude, and ritual, and the easy danger of anti-Jewish readings, and just how much space Torah dedicates to spiritual skin care. If you want a more holistic take on ancient Judaism's ritualcraft RE: leprosy, I'd invite you to check out this great commentary on the relevant sections of Leviticus by Maggid Jhos Singer of Temple Chochmat HaLev, my Jewish Renewal shul back in Berkeley, CA. I especially encourage you to read Jhos's piece if you're likely to hear (or for that matter preach) a message this Sunday that boils down to "The Samaritan got it right while those nine poor, benighted, ritualistic Jews got it wrong!"

(you wouldn't believe how common shit like this is even in progressive churches, like, anti-Jewish readings of Jesus are bad and should stop now, kthx)

However, it's World Mental Health Day today (October 10). And since my life with bipolar disorder deeply informs the way I do theology and ministry... and since my mental health hasn't exactly been awesome these last couple weeks... and since I also happen to be participating in #Inktober2019 except it's #Poemtober2019 because I can't draw for shit... I decided instead to write a poem on today's prompt word Pattern.

We'll returned to your regularly scheduled reflectionary programming next week. But on this World Mental Health Day, whether you live with mental illness or love somebody who does--and since 20 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with mental illness, and everybody struggles with it from time to time, chances are good that you do--I'm sending all sorts of love your way today.

And God is too. Amen, --Tom


by Tom Emanuel

#inktober #poemtober

Day 10: “Pattern”

World Mental Health Day

I believe the morning sun is always gonna shine again

goes the first line of the song I got tattooed across my arm

because sometimes the sun disappears behind a cloud

and though she has returned ten thousand times before

still I’m gripped with the familiar terror that, this time, she

won’t be back for real. so I need a reminder, in a place

I can always see it: I believe in second chances, that’s why

I believe in you.

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