I love getting new shoes on my birthday. Shoes are a symbolic item to me, sometimes I choose them because they represent something that I want to “walk out”. But always, there is the question that they ask you, fresh out of their box — where will you go?
This year, I have cried more than any other year in my life. That had a lot to do with hormones and something to do with other things; life unfolds and sometimes, you need to grieve a bit. It’s not all drama-drama, it’s just part of growing and I think it’s very every-day healthy to hit these passing seasons every now and then. Anyhow, it seems appropriate to have saltwater sandals at the end of this year.
I often think about the Psalm that says “they that sow in tears shall reap in joy”. In tears, it is counter-intuitive, difficult even, to choose to sow. The verse hinges on that word, it is not just a “one day things will be better” promise to the passive recipient, it is a promise to those that choose action in such moments, even in tiny ways. Those that choose to believe beyond their current harvest of circumstance and align themselves accordingly.
That is why I loved what this rabbi had to say in response to the tragic, Aurora shootings earlier this week. The challenge to sow in tears is both personal and collective:
The message I draw from the Jewish narrative arc is that when disaster hits an individual, a family, a city or a nation, the response can only be one thing: to not only rebuild but to imagine a better future and work towards that aspiration. Every time Jewish communities were struck with persecution and violence, the response was to pick up the pieces and work for something greater and better than what existed before. The goal is to catalyze the tragedy as an impetus for a more perfect, more just world.
Today, I am putting on my saltwaters and walking forward. After I’ve put my feet up for a bit. It is my birthday after all.