New Years Non-Reflection

I don’t want to reflect on 2018. I want it to disappear. I want to forget about it – forget the miscarriage (as if I ever could), forget the shootings, forget the anxiety, forget powerlessness. I want to get to the part where I’m looking back, proud of myself for making it through, proud of where I arrived instead of anguished at what it took to get there.

I don’t want to reflect on 2018. I reflected in the fall, when the leaves turned, the semester started, and the Jewish new year began. I reflect weekly, daily, hourly, too often and not enough. I’m always reflecting and never looking forward. The horizon is so far away, so uncertain. The waves of the present are too dizzying. I’m holding on with all I’ve got, trying too hard to find stillness. The past is so safe and stable. I use words to tame it so that it becomes narrative, with endings and beginnings that rhyme, with circles that connect. Making meaning is a way of reclaiming power over moments that felt devoid of it. Reflecting through writing is a way of making the present into past.

I don’t want to reflect on 2018. I just want to carry you all with me into the new year. Those of you who made each moment sweeter – new friends from ALEPH and DLTI, and the recordings I made with our music that wrapped itself around me when I felt alone. Old friends who know my heart, who supported me through the darkest moments, the ones who helped me cry, and the ones who celebrated each small victory along the way. Thank you for never asking me to be anyone but me.

Come with me. Let’s run. Let’s leave it behind. Let’s forget to reflect and forget to remember. Let’s just hold those moments close, the ones we want to keep – campfires, colors, conversations, songs, creativity, mentorship – the moments when we knew, “This is who I am, and I am right where I should be.” Thank you for creating those beautiful realities with me.

Happy 2019, beloveds. May it be a year when our hearts find what we yearn for, and a year when our souls say thank you for something every single day.

A Christmas Message from a Future Rabbi

The house in my parent’s neighborhood with the most impressive annual lights display had a few additions this year. There was someone dressed up as the Grinch, and someone else dressed up as Rudolph. And there was a poster that says “God Bless Our First Responders.” Because, after the Woolsey fire, some in our community don’t have a home to decorate this year.

Eagle View Park

Earlier in the day, my mom and I drove by the park that J and I frequented when we were dating, where I pushed my niece in the swing last Thanksgiving – right across from the park where we used to have our high school cross-country meets. The cross-country park was closed off entirely. The other was burned out on one side. I didn’t recognize the park when we pulled up beside it at first. I even asked my mom where we were.

Oak Canyon Park

When I visited over Thanksgiving, I was awash in relief that my family’s home was spared, and I couldn’t bring myself to drive around to see the rest. This time, with space to take it all in, I’m more aware of what was lost.

So even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I can’t tell you how grateful I felt when I saw everyone gathered and singing together outside this house with all of its lights. Kids played in the machine-made snow, families dropped canned food into the donation bins, and everyone snapped pictures with the Grinch and Rudolph. It may be Christmas, Chinese food, a day off, or Tuesdsay – whatever you celebrate today, I hope it’s a good one. Sending lots of love to all of you, today and always.