Translation: Live. Now. In this moment. All 525,600 minutes of a year in the life. Its all we have, all we can impact. Or, as Hillel said: "If not me, who? If not now, When?" Expanding on that thought, the Jewish religious tradition includes a wonderful book of wisdom called Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers). Within that book is the following phrase: "It is not up to you to complete the work. Not up to you to finish it. But neither are you free to desist from it." (Lo Alecha, 2:21,20)
So, what is that work that we must participate in? I chose to define it as the act of Tikkun Olam (healing the world), perhaps our most important responsibility as human beings.
Using the Hebrew text of the verse as my chorus, I wrote the following verses of a song expressing those thoughts:
"Justice burns within us, a flame so pure and bright. Lighting the path that we must walk all our days and all our nights. Its where we know that we must go, from where we cannot flee. A time and place where we take a stand to set all people free!
The load is heavy but its ours to bear, for we've been blessed by the hand of God, and given the charge to walk the path down the road where Peace is trod. Forged in the fires of Sinai, now the tools are in our hands, to work for Justice, for Tikkun Olam, to bring healing to the Land!"
I've seen the Taj Mahal at sunrise, the pyramids at sunset, been motorcycling on Bali and skin diving in the Red Sea. I've been overcome by the unspeakable majesty of the Rockies, as I stood outside my car in Red Lodge, Montana, and overcome by awe as I hiked the Grand Canyon. The beauty, and Power, of Sedona left me breathless. I've walked in the footsteps of the pharaohs (and probably some long distant relatives in the masonry business) , felt the total stillness at the Valley of the Kings.
I've been blessed to have experienced so much of our world and know, with absolute certainty, that the things we have in common completely dwarf our differences, if only we could see beyond them. As Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, put it (with a little help from Up With people), "I've seen the world without any borders, without any fighting, without any fear...Isn't it the way we perceive things that make them what they will be?
A lover of agonizingly bad puns. Born in Evanston, IL, raised in Alabama. I apparently decided that extremes were to be pursued -- how else do you explain undergrad at Northwestern (one becomes acutely aware of body parts as they begin to freeze off) and grad school at Thunderbird in Phoenix (but its a DRY heat. Yeah, right. When its 110 in the shade your tuchus is toast!) Went on Semester at Sea as an undergrad, traveled with "Up With People" after college (if you're even thinking of a snarky comment, we're probably not a good match), worked PR on the original Goodwill Games, Moscow, '86. See a pattern here? Yes, I do believe one person can make a difference. If not me, who? If not now, When?
A father of two girls, 17 and 21 (God's revenge for having been a teenage boy.) Someone who's ready to move to the next chapter. The previous book is closed and the baggage has been put away (well, most of it anyway -- trying to be as honest as I can). An Actor (Community theater. Relax. I have a paying job! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVA1Cx-_ZX8
Who am I? I'm Jean Valjean! (well, in my dreams...) AN ENFP. A Grits-loving (instant is ok, despite what you may have heard in My Cousin Vinny), True Blue (political reference), white water-rafting, guitar-playing, theater-loving, singing southern Jew. (Yes, we do exist...)
Am I spiritual? Am I religious? Well, maybe the best answer to that lies in an a transcendent moment I had many years ago, as I was hiking up toward a glacier-fed lake in British Columbia:
"The closer you get to Nature, the clearer you see yourself, 'cause up here in the mountains, there ain't nobody else.
Except maybe that whisper of the wind through the trees,
Might just be the voice of God, putting you at ease.
Well the river sings the rhythm and sometimes the melody.
Just stop a while and listen - you'll begin to see.
That Mother Nature's singing you can feel it in your soul.
Take her music with you, it'll make you whole.
Like a painter painting an illusion, from a moment snatched out of time,
Like a writer who takes the moment, and gives it the pulse of rhyme,
Like a minstrel who plays the rhythm, like the singer who gives it life,
You're the painter of your future, and the canvas is your life."