Right now, we are in a transitional period. (dramatic pause...) I'm going to let that sink in for a minute, because I'm pretty sure that phrase means something different for each person. Are we talking about the Jewish community, Pennsylvanians, Americans, human beings, or TV fans waiting for the new season to begin?? Everyone reads something different into the word "transition," but we definitely all have one thing in common - we're going through changes.
When I first chose to focus on this topic, I was actually thinking about the seasonal shift; moving from summer to fall. But as I thought about it more, I realized the same thing is true for all kinds of transitions. We rarely see them as they are going on, we just realize it after the fact. Where did summer go? Weren't we just in the middle of it, and now it's nearly OVER?? At the same time, that's life. "Sunrise, sunset, quickly fly the years..." We see this happen over and over again. We cannot avoid or ignore these changes, we simply have to figure out how to respond to them, and how to move forward. That certainly is a central theme for the High Holidays; coming to terms with all that happened in the year that passed, and beginning to make plans for what lies ahead.
Just as the word conjures up different realities for each of us, so too we each have to figure out our own way of working through transitions. How do YOU face changes and incorporate them into your life? This week's Torah portion reminds us to stay rooted in the Jewish tradition and in our faith; that to face the future we must bring the past with us. But that might not be theideal solution for you. Perhaps you prefer to compose to-do lists or make resolutions. You may face every challenge differently, or you approach them all in mostly the same way. The only real mistake is pretending it isn't happening. Too often we numb our senses, focus on a symptom rather than the real issue, lay blame, or simply imagine the change isn't happening. Life is about facing our challenges and moving through them.
The fall is coming. The High Holidays are upon us. And the networks are getting ready to pitch their new shows. How are you preparing yourself? What is your strategy for the year ahead, and how will you remain flexible to face new challenges that may arise? I don't mean to sound alarmist, I just know that change can be frightening. If nature is teaching us anything right now, it's that change is inevitable. As we all move into this new season (of what we must each answer for ourselves), let us be as prepared as we can, and face the future with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and great optimism!