It’s Friday morning. I am sitting in the customer center of my local Honda dealership. There’s been a recall on our 2003 minivan’s passenger side airbag. 

I’m waiting. 

I’m not going anywhere. Literally. 

I don’t have it in me to fight for the promised loaner car.

My energy is just drained.

To be honest, I’m alright sitting at the small wood-laminate table under the giant televised college basketball game, behind the maroon 2021 Honda Passport.

It gives me a chance to write to you from my heart.

The article I had previously scheduled for today — about road rage — can wait a week. 

***

Leo Buscaglia wrote: “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

That’s why I’m tired.

I’m tired because this is a terrifying time.

My president has had a foreign leader assassinated. Civilian aircrafts are shot down. The impeachment disaster looms. My country feels divided. Anti-Semitism on the rise. Human greed seems unstoppable. Australia is burning. 

Hope feels lost.

Pervasive fear saps us of joy.

In the past, I have suggested we might mitigate our fear and might nonetheless put on a happy face.

Voltaire: “Life is a shipwreck, we mustn’t forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

Today, I’m just too tired to see the merit in this idea.

***

The effects of our uncertain reality are evident on my fellows and behind the plasticine service manager and salesperson’s smiles.

Their energy, too, sapped.

The grey skies are of accord. 

***

“You have to break out of this,” I tell myself.

Must. Fight. Back.

The fear has vanquished my joy, my will, my spark.

Tonight is Shabbat – the night I insist on taking a break from the worries of the world. 

Oh, how badly I want those candles to share their light with me right now.

***

Virginia Keene, my best friend in the world’s bride of 63 years, wrote three sentences in a new year’s message that speak to what ails us. And the cure.

An abundance of faith is the antidote for our crippling despair. 

An indwelling of hopefulness is the helpful cure for our debilitating cynicism. 

A loving spirit is the corrective response to the anger and indifference we encounter daily in life.

***

Faith – faith that no matter how grey the skies, the sun still shines. Faith that no matter how horrible the situation looks, it is not permanent. None of it is.

Hopefulness – hope that the future generations will continue to bend the arc toward justice. Hope that one day nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Hope that love will win out.

A loving spirit – a loving spirit of generosity, empathy, and kindness will soothe our aches. A loving spirit can make us feel connected, despite how it seems. 

Faith.

Hope. 

Love.

***

Of course you and I are tired, my friend.

The cognitive load of being scared is real.

Fear tires us.

All of us.

Let us not waste the precious energy we have picking fights – even if American Honda Motor Corporation has promised us a loaner car.

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Despite Gallant Efforts

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Despite my gallant efforts A noble start     A beautiful fall day. Sunshine. Amazing colors of leaves. Crisp air. I decide to bike—instead of drive—the 2.1 miles to the synagogue where I’ll be teaching a course in a few weeks. We need to finalize some...

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