“When will we ever feel settled?” It’s a question that has been making its way around our home a lot lately. We just moved to a new house a couple of weeks ago. Systems aren’t yet in place and boxes still litter the hallways.
As we think about the school year ahead and some of the floating anxieties we all might be having like: Will school start on time? Will there be another closure? And can I really take another year of this? Our inner lives may feel unsettled too.
These days, between the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year is liminal, “in-between” time. We leave some of the care-free parts of summer behind and transition into the school structures that hold the promise of nurturing our childrens’ minds, hearts and souls.
During these moments of transition, and especially this year, we can sometimes feel anxious, doubtful and concerned about what the weeks ahead will bring.
This month of Elul and our journey toward a new year at Rosh Ha-Shanah is also liminal time; between the year that was, and the year that will be; between what I want to let go of and what I want to bring with me into the new year.
There’s a consciousness during this specific time that I learned from Rabbi Alan Lew z’’l and his book, This is Real and I am Completely Unprepared, that I have been thinking about lately. He wrote:
“Every moment of my life, I am utterly powerless and infinitely powerful. Every moment of my life, I am inescapably hammered into place of everything that has ever happened since the creation of the universe, and every moment I am free to act in a way that will alter the course of that great flow of being forever.”
While there are times that we may feel powerless about what lies ahead and the Delta variant is a force beyond our control, we are also infinitely powerful too.
We have the power to remember what we are most proud of in our parenting from the last year, and bring that into how we steady ourselves for the year ahead. We have the power to decide how to take a breath and show up for our kids who might be a little anxious about the start of school too. We have the power to decide to help our kids reconnect with their school friends with whom they may have lost touch over the summer. And we have the power to decide how to savor the sweetness of summer and take an afternoon to have an adventure with our kids, or a picnic in the park when the weather is right.
I am taking a small step this week and heading out camping in the north of Israel. Unfettered by boxes and far from screens, I want to build up the reserves in the emotional bank account of our family with some late summer experiences. We may just need to dip into these reserves when things get challenging in the year ahead.
Wishing you all blessings for the journey,