PREPENT DAY TWO
ELUL 2 5775- August 17 2015
We hadn’t seen each other in over three years. No animosity, just distance and very busy lives. Occasional emails kept us in touch but not in real contact. And we used to be so close: Weekends on the beach, deep long conversations into the night, thanksgiving feasts, even once a Seder. The occasional tug in my heart – oh, I’ve gotta call… but… didn’t happen. At some point it stops to matter who dropped which ball and why.
On Friday, I realized that I will be passing right by their house over the weekend, and picked up the phone, and surprised delight turned into planning. On my way back to Manhattan from the beach I got to sit again with S. & P. in their lovely garden, and eat, and talk, and cry and laugh and reconnect. Although they were not at the top of my MUST list under ‘relationships to patch up/deal with’ – it felt just right to start this 40 days Prepent journey with a simple gesture of friendship, a tender mend to a relationship that went adrift and well worth retrieving.
On this second day of the Prepent journey my focus is on people as priority – start the self improvement project with attention to what’s torn or worn between me and some people in my life, and what I can do about it – as much as possible.
Some conversations have been waiting to happen for years. Some will never happen. But some will. If I knew that I have finite time to live – who would I reach out to first?
Who can I reach out to today and in the days ahead?
Which important conversation with somebody in my world with whom some sort of overdue hello or check-in or even an apology will help reground me in how and who I want to be in the world?
The month of Elul, once wrote the sages, is a Hebrew acronym for Ani L’Dodi v’Dodi Li – I turn to my beloved, and my beloved turns to me. This quote from the Song of Songs is often read to signify a relationship between a person and God. But the original biblical verse is about the ups and down of human attraction, desire and distance, on and off again. There is spiritual work that is part of this 40 day process, for sure, but the start of any recognition of divine presence is in the eyes of the other, in the faces of the people in our lives. I go back to my to-be and to-do lists and choose to contact 5 people during this next week. The ones from the MUST list.
There is so much reconciliation work to be done in the world. Can it start, small time, with me?
I’m writing this at JFK, 5am on Monday morning, on my way to London to escort my mother on a week in her hometown, visiting relatives, prioritizing relationships and as much in-person time as possible with the remaining elders of our tribe. Before I left home this morning I sit in quiet meditation for 10 minutes, using Insight Timer, an app that P. wanted to share with me – a really useful present, from a dear friend and teacher, whose presence in my life again is again a source of inspirations, smirks, and a great way to begin, again, a day of full on living.
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