I was sitting eating lunch with a colleague a few weeks ago, when she decided to share that she has a young son with a debilitating disease, who may not live to be an adult. As I sat there, processing what she had just shared, I felt sad about her situation and wondered how to respond. I said, “I’m so sorry to hear that.” She responded by telling me that she has learned to consider each day a blessing and to slow down and enjoy the journey. This was a big “aha moment” for me.
I spent a long time thinking about this message. It led me to reconsider my values, to think about how I spend my time and money, and to be more purposeful in how I live my life. We live in exciting but scary times. Religious extremism and terrorism exist side by side with cures for cancer, virtual communities and advanced technology.
None of us know what tomorrow holds. We can only face each day with the best of intentions. We can strive to do good in the world, to fight evil and spread light. Unfortunately, all of that can go away in an instant, something over which we have no control. We need to slow down and enjoy the journey, however long it may be. Spend that little bit of extra time with your loved ones, take time out to call a friend or relative you’ve lost touch with, find the happiness in each day and enjoy those precious moments.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful 2016!
Sue Penn is the mother of three, Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, president of Jewish Reconstructionist Educators of North America and a member of the Jewish Educators Assembly.