Monday, October 09, 2017

1018. #BlogElul 28: Give

(Written two weeks ago, before Yom Kippur.)

This prompt brings up two two ideas: what I’ve been given, and what I can give. That my body never forgot the ability to swim, even after decades away, continues to be one of the most amazing and mystifying gifts I’ve received this year. Each time I go to the pool I feel my body stretching, getting stronger, rising to the challenge. I never imagined such a thing would be possible, especially at my age and relative lack of athletic skill. Best of all, it’s like flying. When I look through the clear blue and glide to the wall buttressed by water, safe and free, I remember that I can do this in life, too—if only I remember to open my eyes and look for friends and family waiting on the other side.

I can give this gift, too, with the help of God to remind me. I hope that the coming 25 hours will give me greater strength and understanding of how to reach this goal.

1017. #BlogElul 27: Bless

As I write this, we’re just a few hours away from Kol Nidre. I’m lucky to get to listen, imbibe, and absorb those notes, and hear a voice beyond description—and even luckier to be singing two services, tomorrow morning and afternoon. I hope and pray that my voice will fully express my heart. I hope that God will bless me to do my best, and that I will feel those blessings magnified through the kahal and be able to reflect some of them back, as well.

1016. #BlogElul 26: Create

(Written two weeks ago, before Yom Kippur.)

I used to think—why? It makes no sense—that creativity dissipated with age. This year has been one of my most creative in a long time. I decided to make tallitot, an idea that came to me one day during services but that had been brewing and bubbling for a few years. I learned and taught myself to sew. I’m getting ready for the next creative challenge, executing and marketing my ideas. I hope and pray for the continued ability to create, and for the strength to not give up when inevitable obstacles appear. I need to remember to be constantly and fully grateful for this and so many other gifts.

1015. #BlogElul 25: Change

(Written two weeks ago, before Yom Kippur.)

This prompt brings to mind a different meaning of the word than I think was intended: those silver and copper pieces that roll and clink in our pockets. As I write this, we’re on the other side of Rosh Hashanah, the final marathon just a day away. I’ve spent this past week ping-ponging between great happiness, great insecurity, renewed self-awareness, frustration, gratitude, exhaustion, and boundless energy. Life, in other words, but somewhat compressed and magnified to fit within a few days of deep reckoning. I reached no conclusions, but perhaps a little more understanding of myself and my weaknesses.

One thing I observed: I rarely carry change any more. Most of the time I pay for coffee, groceries, whatever, with a debit card, which makes it easier to track my expenses. All fine and good, but I never have anything to offer those who ask for money on the street. I will admit that I’ve rarely given that money—nor considered it as requirement for being a good person—but now there’s never an option. I’ve been doing my best to respond to those requests so with a smile and an apology.

This awareness will not change my habits. I will continue to give tzedakah in other ways, and try to exceed what I think is my limit. What I have been thinking about, more and more, is how grateful I am to not need to be in the street asking for change. At times I’ve felt financially stretched, but I still always had a roof over my head. I am very, very lucky in so many ways, and must never forget that.