David Harrison’s “Memory And Meaning”

Just in the last few weeks,  I started watching the HBO show “The Leftovers.” It’s not really my favorite genre, it’s a paranormal story about people trying to resume their lives after 2 percent of the world’s population just suddenly and mysteriously disappeared.

It’s a few years old, but I have found it oddly prescient given what we’ve all been through this last year. We’ve been trying to exercise normalcy over our lives given an entirely abnormal set of conditions.

I’m still not used to the sight of masks.  While of course I wear one and I’m fully compliant, they look to me like props in a bad Twilight Zone episode. I also can’t get used to people reflexively stepping away from each other as they take walks around their neighborhoods.

So many other signs that life has not been normal.  And yet.

Can we imagine for just one second if we’d had to go through this without WIFI? Without laptops and phones that have cameras?   

It’s too easy to assume that this year of adversity will permanently make us kinder to one another, more reflective and grateful.  That our differences will melt away, our discourse becomes less strident.

But in some ways it has, and it will. We can all see clearly now that teachers don’t just deserve our respect, They deserve our admiration. And a pay raise. And healthcare workers. And the laborers and small business owners and waiters and waitresses and the disenfranchised who frustratingly bore the brunt of this crisis while others of us could work from home.

Let me express my condolences to those in our community, and everywhere, who lost loved ones, and were robbed of even the opportunity to hold a funeral and mourn in the comfort of family and friends. And let me as well express my appreciation for our Beth El community of clergy, staff, fellow lay leaders and congregants.

As I write this, it’s an unusually warm March day. We’re all hoping it’s a sign.

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