The High Holidays

Rosh Hashana

Early this morning, while walking around Balboa Island, I watched the wonderful people from the Rescue Center attempt to rescue a seal lion.  Unfortunately there was a rope wrapped around his neck and he was lying at the edge of a pier.  These caring rescuers were lying on the pier, very slowly crawling forward, and patiently waiting for the chance to free the sea lion from the rope around his neck. Their kindness and caring carried no expectation of reciprocation; their reward would be in freeing the sea lion. Although many people walk around the Island every morning, very few stopped to watch what was happening, and fewer still waited around to see the outcome.

That got me thinking about the pace of the life we live.  We are continually rushing to get everything done.  Our day begins by making school lunches, followed by the rush to get the kids out the door, we jump in the shower and run to work.  Once school is out, we pick our kids up, schlep them from activity to activity, grab convenient drive through food, supervise homework on the run, and seldom take time out to just play in the park.  Watching a seal rescue is not an opportunity that presents itself every day. Yet very few people could afford the few extra minutes to stop. What are we doing to ourselves?  Where will all this rushing get us?  The world around us is so beautiful and has so much to offer, we really shouldn’t take it for granted.

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, I challenge you to make slowing down a New Year’s Resolution.  Stop and take life in.  Appreciate the opportunity for renewal, spend a little more time with those you love. We are so blessed to live amidst the spectacular natural landscapes, take the time to enjoy it.  The patience and kindness of those rescuers touched me deeply this morning – the world would undoubtedly be a better place if we showed that kindness and patience to ourselves and to one another.

Sue Penn, the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, is known for being an innovative and creative educator. Sue sits on the Board of Directors for JFFSOC and Someone Cares. 

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