Ode to a Young Warrior

I started this blog almost nine years ago and faithfully wrote every week or so. It was like a diary…a place where I could share thoughts, feelings, and things I’ve learned. It also enabled me to practice writing, by challenging me to communicate in a clear, succinct, helpful, and sometimes humorous fashion. Despite a few hiccups, the feedback I received on my posts mostly was constructive and positive, so it motivated me to keep it up.

Six months ago, back in April, I stopped writing. At first, I didn’t even realize it. The days blurred and I simply lost track of time. Then, with the volume of Zoom calls, phone calls, emails, texts, and online conferences that consumed my weeks, I simply couldn’t sit at my computer a minute longer than necessary to focus on writing. Finally, I realized I just had nothing meaningful to say.

Since the pandemic hit, I feel like I have been living in an alternate universe. Much is familiar, yet so much has changed and feels different. For some of us, it’s like a type of numbness where you go through motions in a disconnected way. For example, you may be out and about, but know things are not “business as usual.” (Go to an airport and you’ll see what I mean.) For others, today’s reality is exhausting and depressing: checking COVID-19 statistics daily; losing one’s job or income; practicing social distancing; buying and wearing masks; lamenting limited or non-existent travel opportunities; learning about businesses down-sizing and closing; experiencing weddings and other events being postponed or cancelled; tuning into the political debates (just typing the words makes me feel sick!); watching sports and shows with no fans or live audiences; etc….it’s all become too much to bear. And yet, some have been able to take everything in stride and create a “new normal.” The human spirit certainly can find the “silver lining” and “make lemonade out of lemons” when it needs to.

With all of this going on, I simply didn’t feel the desire to pontificate, pretend I’m clairvoyant, offer advice, or impose myself on others. I myself was overwhelmed with many of the experiences I just described. So I’ve stayed quiet. Until today.

Today I have a new outlook on life thanks to two “Aha!” moments. The first arrived last Sunday, October 4th as our family welcomed a new baby into our midst. The second is connected to the fact that the Jewish High Holiday season wraps up this coming Sunday with Simchat Torah. The new addition, the New Year, and starting the Torah from “In the Beginning…” snapped me out of my funk.

I thrive on new beginnings. Whether it’s celebrating a New Year (Jewish or secular), a birthday, an anniversary, a new job opportunity, a new relationship, or even the re-rolling of the Torah to read it anew through wiser eyes, I believe in the power and opportunities that come with starting over. This is not to imply I’m in denial. I am fully aware of my flaws and imperfections, as well as the tons of mistakes I’ve made. I know they cannot be erased completely, yet hope I can live with them even as I try to be and do better. That said, I still like the notion of hitting “reset.”

Little Evan is blessed, along with brother Ryan, to be born into a family and people rich with generational longevity, ancient traditions, and deeply rooted values. I, along with other people and resources, will only serve as role model and guide — equipped with understanding, wisdom, patience, and love — as he embarks upon his own journey. Appropriately, the name Evan is related to the Gaelic word meaning “young warrior.” (Especially given these turbulent times, I love that.) He will be privileged to make his own unique contributions to our clan and to the world at large. We who love him will cheer him on.

The timing of Evan’s birth and this holiday season remind me that I have so much for which to be thankful. At the same time, there’s even more to look forward to in the years to come.

(Thank you, little man, for coming into my life. I can’t wait to see that challenges you will embrace and conquer!)