Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
Here it is June, and now the “dry heat” begins. Everything we experience as we anticipate a full return to normalcy should be about the continuity of life’s journey that we seemed to have missed for a whole year. It seems that we only count time by the change of seasons. But we should also marvel as the plants start to bloom, the trees regain their blossoms, and the earth coming alive after sleeping all winter.
Our lives also include planting and harvesting. When we start out, we plant the seeds of our future by our actions and deeds. The growth that occurs is determined by the fertilizer we use and the water needed to assist in the development of that which has been planted.
Just what is the fertilizer? It consists of traditions and customs. It contains environment and habits that are learned from these exposures. As we get older, we discard some and develop others. That is part of growth. As with that which is planted, it, too, accepts the environment that surrounds it, discarding some foliage and growing replacements. Life imitates nature as nature imitates life. They are inseparable.
What is the water that sustains us? For vegetation, it is rain. For us, it is the water of knowledge and the benefits of exchange of ideas. It is allowing our minds to expand to absorb all that is around us, such as the plants do as they drink up the flow from springs and rivers.
Perhaps this is a circuitous way of explaining our thoughts for this time of the year—the time for relaxation—the time for slowing down—the time for planning, and the time for thoughts about togetherness.
Our community consists of viable institutions of learning and praying. We also are involved in philanthropic and social activities designed to emphasize the continuity of heritage and faith. This happened because many dedicated people saw the need, answered the call, and began a process that has changed with time. Sun Lakes is a living place with living emotions, living needs, living wants and desires. And we all share the pains that come with time—the loss of a loved one—the joy of celebrations. Through it all, we should see each other as we are, not as we think we should be.
We pitch in when needed and step back when it seems appropriate. We laugh, we cry, we interfere sometimes, we listen to things that really are insignificant. When we come together as a community, we understand that we are one with each other because we cannot do without each other.
All of us make sacrifices in different ways. For example, when there are needs that sustain stability, we look for those with experience to teach us how to learn from the past to ensure the future. When we witness individuals or organizations that experience financial difficulties for whatever reason, we should be willing to come forward and help. This is what community is all about. This is planting for the future.
We are planting seeds, we are watering that which we are planting, and we will harvest a crop that will be fulfilling to ourselves, our neighbors, and most of all to God. We are in the midst of the biggest challenges of our lifetime. We have been distant for so long, and now we look forward to once again coming together as before. Slowly but surely, we will resume where we left off before this pandemic began. We will be stronger because of this experience. We will be more in tune with one another, because we realize that loneliness begets traumas of despair. We will celebrate and exchange stories of the past year and laugh at some of the experiences and cry a bit because we could not be there for all the needs that went unfulfilled. Make no mistake—we are here, we will be together, and we will sing with one voice as we reach out to touch God in His house, as one people, as one community dedicated to survival.
We should all pray that as this nightmare disappears, and it will, that we will become even stronger and connected to each other as God intended. Perhaps this will indicate our gratitude for succeeding in ensuring our endurance and proving our resilience.