Friday, January 22, 2021

Ready to Change the World

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When your child is in “Zoom school,” the silver lining is watching him or her participate in class. The past few days, kindergarten students practiced their end-of-the-year song, belting out:

The future’s lookin’ good to me.

I’m ready to go! I’m ready to go!

Yeah, the future’s lookin’ good to me.

I am ready as I can be.

My time has come. I’m on my way.

I’m really ready. This is the day.

I worked so hard to make it so. Now I’m ready. I’m ready to go!

Tears formed when I heard my son repeat the words, “I’m really ready.” I couldn’t help but wonder, are any of us really ready to face what the future is throwing at us? To ease the pain of many moments, we often use the phrase, “This too shall pass.” But I’m using the phrase way too often and praying with much vigor, that all of this — the isolation, confusion, hatred, anger, belittling, narrowmindedness and bullying — passes quickly, long before my kindergartner steps forward into a world filled with contention and rage.

But because that reality doesn’t currently exist, perhaps my prayers should look different. Stop praying that “this too shall pass” and instead, consider the following prayer:

“Dear God, help me create a home that looks like a microcosm of the world you intended. A world in which we pause before we speak. A world in which we hold someone with their tears even if we don’t understand a word they are saying. A world in which our children understand that kindness is valued more than competition or wealth. A world in which we see one another, cultivating a deep conviction to work against complacency and indifference.”

The kindergartners will sing their song with pride and eagerness. And they are as ready as they can be, exuding compassion gleaned within their classroom.

But the task is on us. We must create a world that is ready to accept their light and their love. One home, one family, one person at a time. Let us not pray that we wake up tomorrow and the world looks different. Rather, let us pray that we learn how to wake up tomorrow, ready to change the world.

Yeah, the future’s lookin’ good to me.

I am ready as I can be.

Shabbat shalom.

Rabbi Nicole Guzik is a rabbi at Sinai Temple.

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