I continue to focus on my more favorite or IMHO more important It’s Wednesday columns as the retirement looms. The year 2011 – 2012 was one of my better ones I think. The theme was learning, amidst the launch of CE21/L2G initiatives that have significantly changed what we do in educational programming. It was the year of Tim Tebow and much else. The column I have chosen to share after much indecision is one of the pre High Holiday columns that have come out each year, often with material that didn’t quite make it to the “big time” but did make it to you and hopefully made your holidays more meaningful. This one is short and sweet, a mini-sermon which It’s Wednesday was on occasion. It really speaks to me because its message is year around useful.
The Southern Cal rabbis got very few plaudits from you for bringing in the screenwriters [to help them “punch up” their sermons] but I got a lot of feedback about what is on your minds as we approach the high holidays. You will hear more about this experiment in joint sermon writing in about a week.
In the meantime, this is the time of year when we should begin thinking about making a few changes in the way we are. We are human, and to be truly human is to feel our frustrations and pain, and work through them. I always say one positive change would be enough each year. Just imagine how amazing we would be after ten or twenty years!
I saw in my sermon preps the story of an impatient man. He had an anger problem and was in an anger management program. While waiting in line to pay for his groceries, the woman ahead of him, holding a child, was talking with the cashier, and he was getting very upset that they were wasting his time. About to explode, he used his new skills instead. He breathed slowly, quieting down his anger, turned to the older woman and said, “What a pretty baby girl you are holding.”
The young cashier answered for the older woman saying, “Thank you, and I am sorry for taking so long. My husband was recently killed in Afghanistan and I had to go to work. The only time I have to see my baby is when my mother brings him into the market. Thank you for your patience and kind words.”
Working on his anger helped an impatient man find kindness and caring instead of exploding and creating a hurtful scene. Through a character flaw, with work, he began developing tremendous empathy for others. Using his weakness he found strength.
As we move towards Rosh Hashanah, we remember that this is the time to examine our beliefs about ourselves. Instead of banging our fists in frustration or shame as we recite our sins, by the time we reach Yom Kippur let us gently tap our chests instead, knowing that we have determined a way to grow ourselves.
One week from tonight is Rosh Hashanah. To tune up, check out Hazzan Klein’s musical postings on our website www.bethelmc.org. And have a good Wednesday. Bill Rudolph
Do have a good Wednesday. Bill
P.S. Sunday is our annual Men’s Club Kavod Awards breakfast. You can pay at the door. Tuesday night we welcome the Friends of the IDF, the initial appearance in our shul of this terrific fund and spirit raising group.