My last two blog posts have been very dark, a direct result of and a reflection on my mental state over the past two weeks.
Today, I watched from the bus as massive goose flakes, practically snow balls, fell all around me. I mean that quite literally because when all our window coverings are down, I might as well be sitting under a tree watching the snow, except for two things: I am warm and the seat of my pants is dry. So began my Sabbath day, which culminated in attending an Ash Wednesday service at the Grunewald Guild.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season, a time for reflecting on my brokenness and the brokenness around me. Today, I feel I can face this broken reality with hope and steady work rather than despair. On that note, I would like to share a quote from Sharon Astyk’s blog. I read her excellent book Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front while in flight between New York and Dublin, but I left it in a hostel near Killarney after packing it over 20 miles of Irish moorland. I need another copy.
“…tikkun olam means “the repair of the world.” In my faith, that is why we are here – to fix what is broken, repair what is damaged, to improve what can be improved. As the saying goes, it is not required of us that we complete the work, but it is not permitted for us not to try…
Now I do not come from one of those religious faiths where you put aside the lesser emotions like fear and selfishness – in fact, as far as I can tell, the right to whine is a sacrament in Judaism. So I’d hardly be the person to tell anyone “don’t be afraid.” Instead, I suggest we all be afraid – that isn’t pathological, it is appropriate and reasonable. Nor do I suggest any of us fail to whine about it as much as possible – that, after all, is what the Internet is for, collective whining. We might as well take advantage of the technology while we’ve got it.