06 June 2011
Waking Up To Possibilities
In Haikus for Jews, David M. Bader shares the following:
Seven-foot Jews in
the NBA slam-dunking-
my alarm clock rings.
So let me tell you what I woke up to this morning at 7:30 am. There were horns and screams coming from somewhere close - within a few blocks or so. At first, I was concerned. Maybe an accident? Someone hurt on the way to school? There was more honking and shouts and then I realized exactly what it was; I had heard this before. Our town celebrated high school graduation yesterday, and today was the day the high school juniors had waited for - the day to declare themselves high school seniors. Rulers of the world, or at least rulers of the high school halls. I remember when my daughter drove with her friends to school the morning after graduation, declaring her senior status. And then it was my son’s turn. This was a right of passage for the Marblehead students; an announcement to the world, or at least our town, that they were moving into a world of possibilities, a world of excitement, and a huge turning point in their adolescent lives.
I think we adults need that too...to connect with the dreams we once had, or to dream new dreams. In sleep, anything is possible, even tall Jewish NBA stars. Too often in our waking lives, we function on auto pilot, believing that things are as they are, and that our roles and our lives our set. Maybe we once entertained thoughts of painting, or writing or dancing. Maybe we dreamed of owning our own business, traveling to distant places, or learning how to play Mah Jongg or poker or learning a new language. But who has the time when there are bills to be paid, lunches to be made, appointments to be scheduled? Sometimes there isn’t even time to throw something in the microwave; it’s like we are all taking part in that game show of our youth, Beat the Clock.
I study with Rabbi Alan Ullman, and he once told me about a man he was sitting with as the man was dying. The man reached for Rabbi Alan’s hand and pleaded, “What was it all for, what did my life mean?” I think our goal should be to live our lives fully, whatever that means to each of us, so that in the end, we can die full of the life we led.
In my novel, after Syd Arthur begins her spiritual journey, she reflects on the questions that her heart is asking, about the roles she has been playing, and her new awareness that there must be something more. She says:
I have been a seeker all my life, I realize, but a seeker of external perfection: searching for the perfect outfit, praying for the perfect diet, making my house a shrine to contemporary living. But when I die, what will people say about my life? I can just picture Jodi’s eulogy at my funeral:
“Syd was taken from us suddenly, going into cardiac arrest wearing a darling size four Burberry tweed suit and carrying a fabulous Birkan bag. Syd would have been happy to know that she died on one of her ‘thin’ days, and thus will remain svelte into perpetuity. She maintained a spotless house and, thanks to her wonderful housekeeper Marina, barely had to lift a perfectly polished finger to do so. Syd was my best friend, and she can never be replaced. Though we will need to find a new fourth for our Mah Jongg group. We play on Thursday nights, and if anyone here is interested, please see me after the burial.”
We can get complacent. It’s understandable. There is a lot to do in our lives just to maintain we were yesterday. But what about tomorrow? What if we woke up like the new seniors did today, full of excitement and anticipation about taking their place in the world and making their mark? What if we said to ourselves, “Okay, maybe not seven foot Jews in the NBA, but I’d love a new basketball and some good one on one?” What if we expanded our vision of ourselves? What if we remembered that we too, once thought that anything was possible?” Theodor Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream.” So thank you seniors, for reminding us with your honking cars and shouts of joy that each morning that we wake up, a new day of possibilities is upon us.
Posted by emfrankel at 11:19 AM
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