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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Ripple Effect: Time

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I consider myself lucky because I run an amazing organization. It is an organization that I founded, called The Advot Project.

I wear many different hats running it.
It is one of the major ways I hope to make this world a better place.
I want to make this world the best place it can be, but there simply is not enough time.

I am the mother of three teenage girls. Each one could not be more different from the other. Each one needs my time in a different way.

I belong to a wonderful synagogue; I love this spiritual community from the bottom of my heart.  The people there are my people, period, full stop.

I try to go to pray every Saturday even though I often spend more time schmoozing than praying. Those Saturdays used to be sacred time for me, a time and place where I can disconnect and reconnect all at the same time. Losing that time during the pandemic was not easy.

I used to travel, run workshops, perform and speak about the work of The Advot Project. Traveling creates an interesting time warp. The amount of time you spend in the airport and getting to your seat, compared to the amount of time you actually sit in your seat, and the amount of time you are at your destination, can be totally unbalanced.

I’ve been traveling since my kids were young. I used to try and make my time away as short as possible. What that meant in reality was that often I spent more time in the air than at the place I was going to.

Traveling? It seems as if I haven’t done that in about 20 years.  

I haven’t traveled since the beginning of this pandemic. And yet the actual time is not even six months.

Time flies.
No one can stop time.
Time is precious.
Time is all we have.
There is never enough time.
Don’t waste time.
I am blessed with a village that I love to no end.

As my responsibilities and The Advot Project grow, I have less and less time to connect, talk and do things with that special village of mine.

I was never on committees at my children’s schools. Seriously, I never had the time.

I look at my children who are growing up so fast. For the life of me I don’t know where the time went.

Then I sit with my students who talk to me about time, about sitting time, about doing time, and what happens when all you have is time. Time takes on a new meaning.

I struggle desperately to manage my time. I want so much from this one life that was given to me.

A few years back I met an extraordinary woman who was going through a difficult time. She really seemed like a kindred spirit and I felt that professionally we could have a deep and meaningful relationship. I reached out to her a few times, but never really got a response. Recently our paths crossed again, and I knew that my initial feeling was absolutely right. We are starting a wonderful working relationship because now, is the right time.

I have said over and over that change takes time to happen.
Change does not like to be rushed. What I have learned from my students is that real change is slow, sometimes painfully slow. For change to happen, you must take the time. Time to let it grow. Time to nurture it. Time for it to bloom.

“People will not come to see our show,” she told me.

“No one takes the time to hear me, ever!” she added.
“I promise you they are coming,” I tell her. This was a program culmination that we combined with a fundraiser. We were selling tickets for this event and doing it at a big venue. At the time that her fear kicked in, we had already sold out.

“This time everyone will listen,” I tell her. “They will not come, Ms. They never do. You are seriously fucked because this is one big ass place to fill.”

I remember looking at this girl who at the time was the age my kids are now. She was moved from foster home to foster home her entire life.

Promised again and again that things will be better, yet time after time, she was disappointed, neglected, and hurt. No one was giving her the time of day.

I think of how much of my time is spent doing, taking, bringing, schlepping for and/or with my kids. But no one did that for her.

In the end, the theater was full. It was remarkable. Everyone who was supposed to come came. To be honest, I too was worried that people would not show up, not because I have been disappointed like my student, it’s because I worry. I want the world to celebrate these kids and sometimes that just can’t happen. People are busy and can’t always make the time. Such is life.

After the show she was sitting backstage alone. She looked sad and so incredibly young. I came in and told her to join us upstairs.

She said, “Ms., I want to hold this day in time.” She was crying. “This was fun.” Oh, it was so much more than fun. It was truly glorious. “Now what?” she asked me. 

“We celebrate!” I say.

I look at her troubled face. There have not been many times of celebration in her life.

“There is a reception upstairs.” I explain what a reception is and why.

I take her hand and I say, “Time to meet your fans.”

Sadly, she did not have such a great time upstairs. It was overwhelming and a little too much for her.  When you are not used to getting attention, it’s hard to suddenly receive it.

Time has changed her. Years later, she still is not crazy about getting attention, but she isn’t as overwhelmed any more. Sometimes I take her with me to speak in public. She is strong and well-spoken and is no longer a frightened little girl. 

Time will teach us. Time will prepare us. 

We are currently witnessing an important moment in time.
This is a time to listen, a time to protest, a time to give space for very deep wounds to heal. 

It is time, finally, after decades of wrong, to make it right.

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