In Judaism there is a practice of taking a small roll of parchment and placing it inside a container and affixing it to doorposts. They parchment and container are called mezuzot and the practice comes an instruction found in the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible which reads, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart…You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
According to author Lauren Winner in her book, Mudhouse Sabbath, “these are the boxes you see on the doors outside Jewish houses. You’ll find them inside, too, on the doorposts to any room in which people live.”
There are many reasons for hanging mezuzot, not the least of course being because it is a commandment. However, these doorpost offerings also serve as markers of heritage and history, a reminder of who one is, from where one comes, and what is deeply valued, clung to, depended upon. You walk in and you walk out and you remember exactly what your life is supposed to be about.
On Valentine’s Day this year I bought my husband a small wooden sign that reads, “Life is good.” It happens to be something he says a lot and I like the sentiment. It’s short, simple, and gets right to the heart of what we both ultimately desire to hold true. It was a great find and deeply appreciated by him.
Without my knowledge of his plans, he chose to hang the sign on the inside of an eave facing the front door, visible when you walk out. When we depart our hallowed halls of home, our sanctuary and safety net, and move out into the world that may or may not abide by the sign’s saying, it is the last message we read and this small sign brings me a measure of confidence.
It has become important to me, this little talisman of hope. It may not be as dire as a piece of paper with ancient holy words rolled into a sacred holder and nailed to a doorpost, a commandment to obey and a tradition long honored; but it steadies me in a way before heading out into the world. It is my mantra, grounding me, centering me as I leave what I have created and ordered and enter into that which is ordered and created by others.
Life is good. Simple. Truthful. The value I wish to uphold as I come and go, as I leave and return. Believing this, honoring this, trusting this, it is how I want to begin and end every day.