These are the Days of Awe, the days of repentance and renewal between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This week that term has revealed itself in yet another way.
My most treasured client that has been so for almost 20 years historically holds its annual meeting in mid September. Over the years I have done my best to meet their expectations of my presence at this meeting of its Japanese parent with 30+ American subsidiaries and still observe my highest priority – the High Holy Days. Travel for this meeting has been to any of a number of subsidiary locations around the country hosting that particular year’s meeting. This year (thankfully) the meeting was in NYC so only an hour flight away and timed to allow me to attend Rosh Hashanah services.
As I await the arrival this evening of my departing flight home from LaGuardia, I am looking back on the last couple days that I have been in NYC. Doing so has reminded me of the blessings you, as the readers of this Shabbat encouragement, share with me, blessings we often take for granted.
Balancing work expectations, child raising schedules and family commitments, as well as the other very important, yet secularly driven demands on our lives with our goal of living God-centered lives is often beyond difficult. What a blessing clergy have who can prioritize God through their work. Others may be in a season of life that allows them a bit more control of their days (and nights), and the ability to consistently put God first each day. It has been so difficult these past couple days to stick with my daily routines of prayer, Bible reading, checking in with loved ones, even exercise (which for me includes my jog time with HaShem.) No matter how early I would get up, I was into the world of preparing for and giving presentations, meetings from 8-6, then company dinners each night, and exhaustion.
Not that working doesn’t count for doing God-centered work. I am blessed to have deep relationships with so many of those with whom I am working so that our conversations overflowed with kindness and love, not to mention heady topics which this trip even included discussing Messianic Judaism. And yet, my routine with Him was not the same. Nor was my sense of shalom.
Somehow going from the incredibly moving Erev and day services of Rosh Hashanah – the liturgy, the soul-filled music, the 100+ shofar blasts – to even meaningful time at work was jarring. As evidence of the gulf between the secular and spiritual, I actually wasn’t even thinking of the chasm between these experiences until the two story escalator ride down to my gate at LaGuardia. As I descended from that height and saw the scurry and flurry of those going to and fro, I was viscerally reminded of the blessing of these lives we have been given. We are here to bless others and be blessed by our community of faith. We are blessed to have personal, truth-filled belief in Yeshua, the Creator of all, through whom we feel HaShem’s presence in our daily lives. We are blessed to be able to worship Him every day, even when doing so isn’t easy.
As we experience the remaining Days of Awe, I encourage you to live each day in deep appreciation for what we have been given – a glimpse into The World to Come, Olam HaBa, accessible by our merely saying “yes” to Him as our rock, and showing it through our choices and actions. I encourage you to praise Him with deliberation, making Him the centering focus of each of your days even when seemingly there is no time to do so. For there really is time when we prioritize Him in our hearts, thoughts, and then actions. I am repentant of my forgetting, and renewed in my resolve to do better. And today, I am so grateful for the reminder of the awe of Him in these days.
May you be in awe as well, and renewed to live in it.
Shabbat shalom and L’Shanah Tovah.