Last weekend I planned to take the train from our home in Maine to Needham so I could be at Ruach for Shabbat services. It was right after the recent blizzard so I added some extra travel time to get to the Brunswick train station, our closest stop. Unfortunately, the streets were worse than we expected so I ended up missing the train by 5 minutes. Undaunted, we drove to the next stop, Portland, which is 45 minutes further, and you guessed it, I just missed the train. By that point I had pretty much given up when I noticed a bus to Boston leaving in an hour. So I waited and was able to catch the bus. The plan seemed like a good one since I would arrive at South Station in enough time to catch the 9:50 PM commuter rail to Needham and not inconvenience Rabbi Rich and Sue to pick me up too late (although it was a frigid evening.) Thanks again, Rabbi Rich and Sue!!
All went well until I arrived at the South Station bus terminal with only 2 minutes to catch the Needham commuter train poised to depart at a separate building, up a flight of steps, and from the very last platform. As I was running outside between the bus depot and the train station I heard, “Last call for the Needham Heights train” being announced. Despite my fastest running, it looked like once again I would just miss the train.
Running to Track 10 (yes! the farthest one!!) I was momentarily stopped by the conductor of the train on Track 9 who asked me where I was going. I could hardly squeeze out the word “Needham!”. As I slowed up just that slightest amount and then kept running toward and down Platform 10, I didn’t see a soul. Breathlessly, I ran down the platform yelling “Help!” while picturing the train pulling away since at that late hour all the closer doors were shut and I was nowhere near the front of the train. It was now a minute past the departure time. I resented that conductor on Track 9 who slowed me up, probably just enough to cause me to miss my train!
And then I saw the conductor of the Needham line come outside and he saw me. I was so grateful to make the train, graciously be hosted by Rabbi Rich and Sue, and have a wonderful time with my Ruach community.
As I shared the story with my spiritual sister Chaya, she said, “Probably that conductor on Track 9 contacted the Needham conductor and had him hold the train.” That possibility had never crossed my mind. . .
Her comment was such a poignant reminder of the importance of community. It demonstrated how we can come to false conclusions so easily, harsh judgments, fall victim to misunderstandings and misinterpretations so easily. Her thought was probably correct since the train did leave a couple minutes late, and had announced last call easily 2 minutes before my breathless arrival.
We so easily get lost in our own dramas, let alone have difficulty seeing beyond our own perspectives. It is for this reason that the importance of being in community is critical. And I don’t just mean any community. I am talking about God-centered brothers and sisters, in my case, Ruach Israel. What a blessing!
I know some of you reading this do not live near Needham so I encourage you to seek such a place. HaShem designed us as social creatures and it is not an accident that living in community is a necessity for healthy living, emotionally and spiritually, not to mention intellectually and socially. How often do we find Scripture study with others so much more insightful than study on our own? HaShem provides these gifts of community as a blessing to be embraced.
For those of you who attend or could attend Ruach Israel, I hope to see you there. Not only will you be blessed by your time with others, and enriched by the services – true to our Jewish faith and yet embodying the truth of Yeshua – but I feel HaShem dwells in our midst there every Shabbat morning.