Rabbi's Weekly Teaching
Friday, December 21, 2012
Amidst our nation's holiday season, we are now accompanied by the horror and grief of the massacre of innocents in Newtown, Connecticut.
When I first heard this terrible news my heart became shattered, and my prayers were directed towards those most in need of comfort. Then, I sought my own family, wanting nothing more than to hug them tight, and pray for a better and more peaceful world.
In the aftermath of tragedy we are reminded as to what makes life meaningful and precious; it's the sharing and connecting with our loved ones.
There will always be circumstances that can distract, or keep us away from our loved ones, but too often we choose the separations for unimportant reasons that seem important at the time.
It's not only on holidays, or at recitals, or reunions, or milestones that we should be present. It's at the mundane, everyday, ordinary things that we need to simply show up. As our spouse prepares a meal or cleans up; as our child goes to sleep; as our pet goes out for a walk; these are the times when the priority for ourselves should be to simply show up and join in that space and time.
There's no need for in-depth conversation, or discussion of the "Big Topics", those ironically actually happen in the midst of algebra problems, or sitting as your teen drives the car.
Showing up for the small stuff allows us to notice the details that may be missed such as a smile of relief when a job is done, or a high-five after a lengthy paper has been edited.
As our loved ones grow they can spin out of our orbits, which is appropriate at times. But the experience of sharing our humanity and our experiences of the world with loved ones is finite and short-lived for everyone.
The privilege and the opportunity for each of us is to show up for our loved ones. The time we share together is like the small section of visible light, or colors, on the electromagnetic spectrum. Except for that small band, all the light wavelengths are invisible to us. But the precious richness of those colors of visible light, the world they show us, are like the glimpses of light we get, no matter what we are doing, when we are with our loved ones. Small and fleeting, it's important to notice the rainbow, and it makes us feel alive.
As this year's Festival of Lights has come to an end and we continue through the holiday season, harshly dimmed in a small idyllic section of our nation, we are compelled to pause and take in the regular moments, to connect with our loved ones and truly be there, without distraction.
Avinu Malkeinu; our Heavenly Parent; hear our voices as our world unites in prayer and compassion together with the people of Newtown, Connecticut. Bless those who are suffering and send them healing of spirit. Embrace the innocent souls of those who have been stolen from our world, and send consolation to the mourners and comfort to the bewildered. Help us to build a world that is safer for our children, and strengthen our daily intentions to be present with those we love the most; making each ordinary moment have the potential for extraordinary sacred space and time.
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