Write Again . . . So shalom, my friends

Published 7:58 pm Monday, December 26, 2016

On the cusp of a new year if I had to identify the single most dominant emotion, feeling, I have, it would be, quite simply, one of great gratitude.

Now, let me assure you, kind readers, I’m not going into a lengthy litany of each blessing that has come my way, lest such appear, well, almost, as boastful. Nor recount the good and meaningful aspects of my experience that have been an ongoing part of my journey.

My experience is just that. Mine. As is yours. And surely you look back with much gratitude upon all those blessings that have enriched your life as well.

Then, of course, there was in this year alone the leaving of some of the best friends I ever knew. Their departure, perhaps more than in any other year, truly affected me, caused me genuine sadness, and made me reflect even more upon my own mortality. I believe this is what we call “life,” is it not?

If nothing else — and there is plenty else, actually — the passing of friends and loved ones reminds us again and again that we are not in charge. Those who might think otherwise attempt to deceive themselves.

How we view things, what we deem important or not; that which gives us joy, or touches us in a special way; those things that make us truly sad; or open the floodgates of memory — all these things are seen and felt through the prism of our own experience.

As Albert Camus wrote: “We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.”

My former teacher-became-friend in college, Ralph Steele, often said, “It all depends upon where you place your values.”

And so, friends, may those things you value be a part of your life in the coming year. May we, as a country, strive to be a bit kinder to one another.

May this weary world see the dawn of peace.

And may each of you — and those you love — have a very happy New Year.

Shalom, my friends. Shalom.


APROPOS — “Ring out the old, ring in the new, /Ring, happy bells, across the snow./ The year is going, let him go, /Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson