i was told change is good

So I should be the one to change.

This is the season of thinking about changing, before Rosh Hashanah, through until, well, when is it not appropriate? Leaves changing and all, very thought-provoking. I’m too lazy to go upstairs to search for my John Hollander book, so I found enough of a quote here online from Steve Rubin, Celebrating the Jewish Holidays:

[John] Hollander expresses similar thoughts of remembrance and attachment in his poem “At the New Year.” For him, teshuvah is a continuous, existential process (“every single instance begins another year”), one that is essential to his humanity. And like Stern, Rich, Chess, and the medieval poet Gabirol, Hollander concludes his poem with an expression of gratitude for the gift of life and the ability to begin anew: “. . . as we go / Quietly on with what we shall be doing, and sing / Thanks for being enabled, again, to begin this instant.”

Yes, beautiful. I really should go find it.

I got here with thoughts about today and memories of the past. Today, I’m thinking of people who are so eager to follow trends that they impose permanent inking over their bodies. Ironic, isn’t it? I’ll say it again. They want to be trendy, so they get something permanent. They’ll throw away clothing from last season, but they’ll put tattoos on forever.

I really don’t get it.

Plus I can’t help associate tattoos with Nazi death camps. And for anyone who’s gone through or accompanied anyone who’s gone through radiation, with radiation.

So I have more than a little cognitive dissonance with it.

And I just don’t get it, even without all that. I wrote a little bit about my distaste for branding here already 3 years ago. Wow.

And to contrast with the flightiness of all these trendy people (and isn’t it more than ironic that all the news people note what’s trending these days?), there’s a definite need to change. We must keep moving or we

well, what?

We don’t.

So that reminds me of a story that happened at least 15 years ago or so. There was tension between a number of people in our community and there didn’t seem to be an easy way out. As it happened, there was some simcha ( I think it was a bat mitzvah celebration) and one of the women who was on “the other side” was part of a circle of women dancing. I took her hand to dance and didn’t think twice about it. It wasn’t about me. Or her. It was about celebrating the milestone.

A few days later, I got a call from her. She said how happy she was that I did that and that she would love to talk some time soon. So, swallowing pride, I went over there. She had baked fresh chocolate chip muffins for the occasion. We sat down at her kitchen table and she pulled out a pile of file cards.

With notes on them.

“Change is good.”

“If change is good, don’t you think you should change?”

“What’s holding you up from changing?”

“You should move.”

“Your husband should get a different job.”

Oh she elaborated a little bit after each card, but that was the gist of it.

I stopped eating.

I don’t think I’ve eaten chocolate chip muffins since then.

Bottom line–I think I have changed, but I didn’t change the way she wanted. And as it turned out, it wasn’t her idea, anyway. It was her husband who wrote the cards for her and told her what to do.

She’s no longer married.

Yes, sometimes change is very very good.


One response

  1. Pingback: making space | Learning from the Learned

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