Friday, August 29, 2014

#BlogElul: Keeping the Weeds of Acceptance in Check

Life is full of conditions and scenarios -- significant and mundane -- that we don't understand.
Why do healthy people who take care of their bodies get cancer?
Why can't we obliterate racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, and all the other -isms that plague the world -- and the people in it?
Why do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?
Why do bad things -- airplane crashes, ferry sinkings, terrorist attacks, depression, fires, freak accidents, drugs and alcohol, drownings, suicides, homicides, heart attacks, and more -- happen to good, innocent people?
Why are we plagued by political corruption, famine, disease, violence, and what, if anything, can we do to ameliorate these ills?
I wish we had all the answers...

But since we don't, the best that we can do is to "grow where we are planted."

For some, growing means taking social action -- writing to lawmakers, lobbying, or protesting cruelty, injustice and inequality.

For others, growing means conducting cutting-edge scientific research, advocating on behalf of those stricken with a particular illness, or delivering a meal (and a few extras for the freezer!) to a sick friend and staying for a visit while she eats.

For still others, growing means running a marathon for a cause, stocking a food pantry, serving meals to the hungry, or donating blood or platelets.

Sadly, some people don't take too well to growing -- to soil and fertilizer or to water and sunlight.  They'd rather accept the status quo.

I believe, though, that learning and growing help us to accept what we do not understand.  Sometimes they can move us closer to a partial understanding, even if there's not complete clarity or comprehension.  Nonetheless, those of us who grow and thrive where we are planted help to keep the weeds of indifference, apathy, and blind acceptance in check.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam for enabling us to learn and grow where we are planted, and, when necessary, to accept those things that we cannot understand.

Inspired by Ima on (and off) the Bima, this #BlogElul post is one in a series marking the days of the Hebrew month of Elul, which precedes the Jewish High Holidays and traditionally serves as a time of reflection and spiritual preparation for the new year.