The Day After

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The glass shattered. We can’t stay: we’ve already been ejected from our land, the place that made us, our ancestral home. We don’t know where we’re going or how we’ll get there.

Today physically may look much the same as yesterday, but nothing is the same. We already left. We don’t know where we’re going or how we’ll get there.

The nation and world rock with seismic spasms. The glass shattered. The days ahead will bring more spasms, more shattering. We don’t know where we’re going or how we’ll get there.

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These words come on the day after the U.S. election of 2016, on the day that also coincides with the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht, when the Third Reich of Germany committed its first public atrocities against the Jewish people that would become the Holocaust. The calendar’s symbolism raises a harrowing pole of possibility of xenophobia, fear and hatred crystallized into worse.

And amidst our grief, we must tell a second story. In this week’s Torah portion, “God said to Avram: Go from your land, your native place, the house of your father, to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:1-2).

And Avram went – ejected from the land, the place that made him, his ancestral home, everything comfortable, everything he knew, everything he thought he knew. He didn’t know where he was going or how he’d get there.

Our question isn’t whether we’ll go: we’ve already left. The glass already has shattered. Now our question is how we can live as blessings.

If there is grief today, look around. You are not alone. Grieve the loss of what’s comfortable and familiar, what we thought we knew. Grieve the not knowing. Impossibly – miraculously – the grief will move through.

If there is despair today, look around. You are not alone: the grief that others feel today will become the seed of hope.

If there is fear today, look around. We don’t know where we’re going, or how we’ll get there, but like Avram, we have a guiding power that never dies.

If there is exhaustion today, look around. Drive slowly. Speak slowly. Hold yourself and others with exquisite care and compassion: they need it, and so do you.

If there is impotency today, look around. We have choices for how we elect to behave, how we treat others, how we treat ourselves. We have the choice to hold power accountable, to protect others, to live our values as never before. Those choices might matter more than ever.

These are how we will journey from ejection to blessing. They will be the land that is our unseen destination. They will be our journey.  We’ve already left. Let’s go.

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