#10. 3rd Re-Birth-Day and Happy Yom Kippur!
Stop. Breathe deep. Appreciate this day.
36 months ago today I survived a successful quadruple bypass surgery. Operating time: 7.5 hours. Diane took an exceptionally long flight over the Atlantic from TLV-JFK and nursed me back to health. I want to share with you how happy I am to be here today and every day. I thank God each morning for the miracle of waking up.
Aging is great. I wish you many years of it, in good health. I know how you might feel about the aches, wrinkles, and creeping forgetfulness. But it’s better to age than to not! Ideally, surrounded by family and friends.
As we grow older, years grow shorter. That’s because they represent a shrinking percentage of our life’s memory. I’m down to 1.5%. This morning I looked through Picasa and gathered a few images. (You should try this, too.) What’s funny is the human recollection of many ages and experiences “like they were yesterday”. At least inside your brain. I remember that guy, perhaps disbelievingly in the mirror, but comprehend what he looks like to others.
The message remains — embrace each day of your life.
Counting Your Blessings
Take a moment and think about the near-misses that you and your family have survived this past year. It might be an illness, dozing at the wheel, a fall down steps, violent crime, accidents, or a hundred other bullets dodged. Most, you haven’t noticed — because you never thought about them — and assume they wouldn’t happen.
We humans are the only species conscious of our finite time on this earth. Thankfully, we do not dwell on it too much — in fact, we live in thoughtful, blissful, healthy denial of all the things that might go wrong. Otherwise, we’d never make it through a day.
We’re more proficient at comprehending the past than the future. Very possible things we never imagined are, well, unimaginable… in the vernacular, “unbelievable”.
The trick is to confront the future with the balance of choice over what you control/influence — and a healthy respect for what you cannot.
Yom Kippur 5777
Today is Yom Kippur Eve. According to Jewish tradition, we face the scales of justice and mercy, as we look forward to a better year. The High Holidays are both celebration and a thoughtful view towards the challenges of the coming year. There’s a beautiful prayer we say, of which I find myself more in awe each year.
And here is an audio recording of Yossele Rosenblatt (1882–1933) singing it.
My wish for you is to find your own peace with yourself, as you consider your personal and professional goals for the coming year. At this time of year, we ask others for forgiveness. But it’s just as hard to ask ourselves to forgive — to let go of the angers, envies, grudges, I-told-you-so’s, Schadenfreude, and pettinesses.
From Jerusalem, wishing you a peaceful year of good health and nachat. And enjoy Yom Kippur! If you’re fasting… have an easy one.