Every new year brings reflections of joy and loss. In November, we welcomed our sec-ond grandchild into the world. She was given her Hebrew name at synagogue, a few days before COVID sent us scurrying to our homes.
My work as a therapist shifted from hugging clients in person to communicating through technology. My perspective shifted, too, from frustration to appreciation for all the ways it serves us.
It was sad to see our family table set only for two at Passover, but amazing to deliver the festive meal to the homes of our children and share the “Zeder” (Zoom seder) apart/together. The kids changed their backgrounds to include family photos that made us laugh and cry.
This Yom Kippur will be odd, not gathering together in synagogue. But I look forward to communing with G-d in a raw way befitting 2020. Instead of wearing makeup, a dress, and heels to go to G-d’s house, I’ll be unadorned, barefoot, and sitting on G-d’s earth. My belly will be empty, but my heart full as we listen to the streaming voices of rabbi and cantor among the songs of cicadas, birds and frogs. I’ll lift my gaze upward to search out the stars when the gates have closed.
We’re always served up the bitter with the sweet. While it seems as if we can’t control the pandemic, chaos or violence, we can choose how to respond to it and who to be-come in the face of it.
I challenge myself to become a Divine spark, even when sad, angry or seemingly help-less to make a difference. For me, that means looking for the good in people and situations and responding with patience and compassion.
May we all be written and sealed in the Book of Life.
Terry Segal is a regular columnist for the Atlanta Jewish Times.