One of the challenges of our traditional liturgy at the High Holydays is the medieval language of our liturgy, compounded by the fact that most of us are reading these poetic passages in translation. It's a bit like trying to navigate your way through Chaucer's English. And some of the God images that I can get stuck on are the ones that seem to engender a feeling of fear. But in Hebrew, yirah can be translated as fear or as awe. I don't connect with a God that is feared. That relationship does not convey the loving, compassionate energy that I want to feel connected to when I seek a sense of greater Presence.
But a God that leaves me in awe... that is something that I can completely connect to. When I try to wrap my head around the reality and complexity of the connections that exist between us all and all life, that is truly awe-inspiring. My mind can't grasp it all, but if I can do my own, small piece to contribute to fostering connections that are truly loving and compassionate, then I'm participating positively in the flow of giving and receiving in that infinite and intricate web of connection.
That, for me, is the meaning of feeling the awe of God.
And, as Brene Brown puts it that, indeed, brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to my life.