You might be scared. In many ways, it is a scary time.
The future is uncertain. It feels very uncertain right now.
I don’t need to convince you of how scared the world seems. You know that.
What I want to talk to you about is our need to find joy amidst the fear.
You need to find some joy amidst the fear. I need to find some joy amidst the fear. We all do.
I have been saying it to people this way:
Emotions are not binary. We can experience laughter amidst mournful sobs and tears.
Fear, while it spreads like a cancer, need not take over our lives.
While being cautious, while being awake, and while taking political action, we can still live full lives. Fully live – lives that include joy.
There are forces that make it seem that we shouldn’t have joy.
We are told, “If you aren’t outraged you aren’t paying attention.”
But, I say, no. We can be outraged and paying attention and have joy in our lives.
Judaism is notorious at celebrating life even in the most horrible of circumstances. My ancestors and their ancestors too had the audacious practice of ceasing from work at least once a week with the soul/sole purpose of celebrating life. And, every Friday night (or at least 77% of the time) I raise a symbolic toast to joy, to take time to focus on what I have and my good fortune.
Shortly after the election, I sent out an issue of the newsletter about my need to express gratitude even while shell-shocked and disheartened.
I will tell you that this – the need to still have joy – is even more important. Without joy, we will perish. We must – we must find and experience joy.
I know that I sound a little preachy here. I’m ok with that. I’m a rabbi, a religious leader after all.
I told the people at my table on Friday night that I have prioritized having of joy in my life. I told them that I am hereby living as if God personally told me that I must live with more joy. I will, no matter what, weekly carve out some time for joy. As I explained to Greg, Sam, Isabelle, Annie, Emmett, Gillian, and Jane, having a table of loved ones with me on Friday night, enjoying a home-cooked meal, is a celebration of joy.
I want you make a conscious choice to have joy in your life.
I want you to commit to doing one thing in the next 168 hours (that’s the number of hours in a week) that will bring more joy into your world – and you get bonus points if you don’t reserve the joy for your own experience, but share it with others.
Commit to having more joy in your life as thought your life depends on it.
MLK said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
I would like to add to that quote: Fear will never conquer fear. Only gratitude and joy can do that.
#wisdom_biscuit: commit to finding joy even amidst fear.