We’re mereÂ momentsÂ away from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and my head is swimming in thoughts many of which I cannot share here.
Cannot share because there are boundaries in blogging but I can’t quite ignore these thoughts either. Can’t stuff them into a box so I’ll say today I learned friends lost both of their parents at once.
So I’ll share a multitude of things here and you’ll have to decide if you wish to wade through it all.
How Often Do You Really Face Your Fears?
Sometimes my children ask me what I fear because they’re truly curious what makes their father’s heart pound. They say they know what I look like when I am happy, sad and or angry but they are not sure what fear looks like upon my face.
I learned a long time to ago to hide it. Learned long before I was aÂ grown upÂ because I thought being fearless was part of being a man and that was what I wanted to become.
There are things I fear some fall into the category of possible and others into improbable. Sometimes I have sought them out, gone looking for them so that I could understand them better and remove them of their power.
And later I have thought about the experience, replayed it in my mind and contemplated whether it served its purpose, asked if it did the trick.
Alone in the dark I have stood under the moonlight and thought about how much to share with the children, tried to discern how much truth would help them and how much might hinder.
There are benefits to being seen as human and benefits to being seen as superman.
In The Synagogue We’ll Sit
The New Year comes and I start to prepare for it by thinking about my life, all that I have done, all that I have tried to do and what I have accomplished.
Thought about whether I am the man I want to be, if the I am the person, the father I want to be. In the synagogue we’ll sit and the community will join together in saying prayers like Unetaneh Tokef and sections of it will grab me as they always do.
“On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.”
Sometimes I’ll look around the try to figure out if people mean what they say or are just saying the words. If you don’t understand the Hebrew you might miss things.
I’ll sit there and wonder how many are in shul because they fear not showing up and how many do it because it is something to do.
And I’ll think about why I am there and what I want for my children and think about whether the things we do are helping those goals or hindering them.
Shine A Light On The Dark Corners
Every year I try to shine a light on the dark corners of my mind. Every I think about what is happening around me and ask myself if I am doing anything to make it better.
And I’ll wonder about how often fear drives our decisions and then I’ll give a wistful smile because the more things change the more they stay the same.
All the while I’ll not forget that I am enjoying the opportunity to be introspective while friends are are mourning and asking very different questions.
â€œThoâ€™ much is taken, much abides; and thoâ€™
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.â€
Ulysses, Lord Alfred Tennyson.