As I wrote this, I am looking out of my study window at a gray sky. It is in the 30 degree range and drizzle is falling.
On April 1, the Phillies open their 2011 season. The “new year” of baseball is about to begin and, for at least 1 day (or maybe one three game series) visions of pennants seem possible. Given the state of the world, baseball season is coming just in time!
The new season also comes — talk about coincidences — at a time when Judaism and Christianity both go about their ritual business celebrating a season of rebirth, freedom and possibility. Passover and Easter are almost here. For the next month we will be treated to motifs of emerging life and growth. How curious for us boomers who have been reminded that, as of January 1, 2011 (a scant few months ago) one person in the USA will turn 65 every 8 seconds. All of a sudden we are beginning to realize that the dream of on-going youth was just that, a dream. We are starting to compare tales of trips to the Social Security office to sign up for “our” entitlements and feel strange with that new Medicare card that now resides in our wallet. And we are amazed at how many of our friends and associates are signing up for new knees or hips or enhancements. We do not need the media to remind us that we are now aging, all we need to do is look in the mirror! And to all of this we should say a resounding, “so what?”
Let me suggest that, as spring approaches, we dedicate this season to our own renewal. Many of us are carrying burdens of care-giving, juggling transitions and family obligations, trying to make sure our own futures are secure, while also worrying about our children and grandchildren. At the same time, we need not to worship at the alter of gloom and doom. This season should remind us that, health permitting, we need to embrace and celebrate life. I know that sounds somewhat obvious, but, it is good to be reminded that what means most in life is always there for us. It is our relationships with friends and family, the connections to communities and the sense of meaning and purpose that we derive from our involvement with these relationships that help give texture and definition to our own existence. And these relationships become even more important as we ourselves age.
There is so much that needs to be done in the world. There is so much life to live and celebrate. This is the perfect season to remind our own souls that our most precious gift is the life we have been given. So, a happy and healthy Pesach to all of you and your families. As you sit around the seder table this month, I hope you take the time to be thankful for family and friends and for the life that extends before you.
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min