Happy 2020. This new decade kind of snuck up on me. The year end shows on TV began reviewing the decade the other day and it got me to thinking that this decade swept by so fast. It was not the best, as it began with the deaths my mom and one of my closest and dearest friends, and ended with the death of another good friend. The in between years saw the deaths of several other friends. That friendship circle has gotten smaller since 2010. Mortality is no longer a “someday”.
By the end of this dawning decade, by 2030, I, and the first wave of our Boomer generation, hope to be into our 80s. By 2030, all Boomers will be at least 65. For many of us, it is a time to rethink and recalibrate our priorities. Given the realities of life, we hope to survive our 70s. A former congregant, Paul Fialka, reminded me of some thoughts about the passing of time when he posted a note about” Pieces of Time”. These are pieces of life that we collect, memories, if you will, as we get older. They help in the re-visioning of priorities from material issues, social status and influence, to family and friends.
I find myself in this position, trying to assemble the pieces of time that have been so precious. The pieces of time that have helped weave the fabric of life. The secular new year is so different from Rosh Hashanah. There is no great ceremony or religious service that draws your focus to the “great” issues. There are parties and some celebration and, as we get older, an attempt to stay up to see the Times Square ball drop. But mixed in is this under-current of melancholia. Another year of life has passed. So many pieces of time. What of our place in this world and what does my life mean as the reality of mortality becomes more present.
And what of this new year and new decade? What shall we hope for, pray for as the world continues to baffle us? I will pray for health and the wisdom to make choices that honor and sanctify life–no matter what the circumstance. I will pray and hope that I will continue to collect, and cherish, those pieces of time that help sustain me. And I will pray for time, the one thing that, no matter how hard we pray, we cannot control, for there are still so many pieces of time to collect.
Have a sweet and healthy 2020. Collect and cherish those pieces of time.
Rabbi Richard F Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.