Hineni. Pronounced hee-nay-nee. English transliteration of the Hebrew:
Literally: “Here I am.” As opposed to “I am here,” which is said differently in Hebrew as well. In both languages the color and connotation is slightly different in analogous ways.
I am far from the first to reflect on the spiritual significance of this phrase; it came to me unbidden, during a [relatively] recent period of my life in which I was slowly but surely regenerating after yet another deep spiritual and clinical depression.
But once I heard it, a whisper to myself unspoken, it has never left. “Hineni,” I smile when I sense the almost heady relief that accompanies even a sliver of joy. “Hineni,” I breathe when I feel called to presence by the sky. “Hineni,” I assert when I must once again find the strength and the compassion to face my fears and limitations. “Hineni,” I remind myself when I choose to speak and live my truth in a public way. And, also, “Hineni,” I whisper when I allow myself to submit, when I humble myself to relax into the greater truths in which we all swim — or flounder — in our journey to the other shore.
Here I am.