It is extraordinary to watch California reopen. A year ago, our family was planning our 2020 summer routine: take three walks around the block, buy every puzzle at Target, become expert cookie bakers and figure out which movies on Netflix are most kid appropriate. We were blessed to stay at home, comfortable, well-fed with a roof over our heads. And yet, we never imagined the freedoms of flying across the country or going to summer camp would be stripped from our schedules. As our masks come off and we plan our summer vacations, we must pause and embrace this moment. We are experiencing a miracle.
I have the privilege of welcoming many congregants into the main sanctuary as they walk in for the first time. The first time in over a year. Each congregant confesses, “I feel a little emotional.” We should all feel a little emotional. Covid-19 ravaged our city and continues to wreak havoc around the world. And yet, here we are. Seeing numbers at an all-time low and reexperiencing so many “firsts” all over again.
So, pause. Give the deepest appreciation for the first responders that paved this road. Thanks to those that continue to keep our city safe and functioning. We cannot move into the next chapter of our lives without acknowledgment of loss and recognition of those that enabled our lives to move forward.
Kohelet’s words play over and over: A season is set for everything…A time for planting and a time for uprooting the planted (3:2). But do not let weeds of impatience, frustration, and annoyance so easily take root. Continue to cultivate the compassion, empathy and gratitude that were planted and nourished over the past fifteen months. These are the flowers that should flourish and grow.
So, the masks come off. Let a welcoming smile take its place. A blooming, beautiful smile ready to be seen…waiting to be received.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.