HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MY LOVE

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MY LOVE

Thirty years

ago tomorrow (December 27), Leslie and I were married. It was not unlike the weather right now. A little snow. Very cold. And filled with promise. 
 
Over the years, I have learned several important lessons. Allow me to share three that may help as we move into a new year.
 
1. No matter how right I am, being “right” is less important than being together.
 
For any of us in relationships (and we all are – with spouses, siblings, parents, children, co-workers, friends), we know that conflicts arise. Disagreements ensue and we know we are right. Seriously. We ARE right. However, what is more important? Isn’t it the relationship? Sometimes we just need to back down and let someone else be right – or at least, not be wrong – in order for us to move forward.
 
As we look at our country today – just as divided and broken as it was a year ago following one of the most contentious presidential elections in modern history, perhaps it is time for all of us to remember – being together as a country is more important than being right. Perhaps it is a message we send to our legislative leaders – local, state, and national.
 
2. When one I love hurts, I hurt as well. 
 
Anyone who is a parent knows this truth. When our kids are struggling, we feel the pang. We want to take it away. The same is true with our spouse or our friend. There have been many times when one of us was hurting – sometimes it was physical pain, sometimes emotional. All we want to do is take away the hurt. But all we can do is feel  and share the pain. As a Hallmark saying that sat in my mothers’ bedroom for years reminds us, “Friendship (or in this case: Love) doubles the joy and divides the grief (or: pain).
 
Once more, as we approach a new year, we know that ones we love are hurting. I think of Israel, a place for which we prayed to exist for almost two millennia. And now, merely 70 years after that prayer became reality, that which we love is being attacked and criticized and existentially threatened in ways hard to imagine. I hope that we can feel Israel’s pain and be there to support her. We may not always agree with Israel (see lesson #1 above and #3 below) but Israel belongs to us. I hope we can teach this to our children. I hope we will be there whenever Israel hurts. For that will show true love. 
 
3. Snoring is all that matters.
 
While I won’t reveal who snores in our family, I will share the lesson I have learned. For the one who hears the snoring, it can be annoying. It can be aggravating. It can make us irratible. But it is also the sound of one whom you love breathing God’s breath. For every inhale and exhale is your loved one trying to take in all that God offers us. And that is so very precious.
 
In this new year, may we look at those around us – some may be family, some co-workers, some homeless on the street, some may be Republicans or Democrats, some may be black and some may be white, some may be Muslim or Christian or atheist – and recognize that each breath they take, each snore they produce, is the breath that God has given her or him. In other words, each of us is God’s gift to the world. May we see that gift in the “other” whom we meet. Let us ignore the snores. Let us celebrate the breath each possesses.
 
To my wonderful life partner, Leslie, I say, “Happy Anniversary.” May you continue to teach me lessons, making me a better person each day because i am privileged to spend my time in the garden of life with you.
 
And to all of our B’nai Jehudah family, may it be a (secular) New Year filled with lessons learned and lives celebrated.