Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Driving Down The Road Of Life

This time of year is set aside for self-reflection. It began on the first of Elul. Every morning we've been blowing shofar to awaken ourselves to the possibility of change. Slichot services marked the time when our self-reflection intensified. And of course, the 10 Days of Repentance, from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur, is the time set aside to do the hard soul work of becoming the people we truly aspire to be. You might say we come to synagogue for some “interior decorating.” As you can well imagine, I’ve been preparing for the High Holidays for some time now.  An insight came to me from an unusual place.

Judy and I purchased a new car because our old one was dying and probably wouldn't pass inspection and we knew that we would visit Boston more regularly now. Hillel and Lily are expecting their first child and we can't wait to be with our future grandchild. Being both economically concerned because of the never ending rising price of gas and being green minded, we purchased a Camry Hybrid. It has three power modes. The first is charging, meaning we are driving the car solely on battery power without using any gas. The second is the economic mode when we are driving the car with a combination of battery and gas. The last is power mode when we are only using gasoline. Driving slow is the key to a higher mpg rate. This past Sunday we drove to West Hartford for a wedding reception. I drove up there and was able save close to 3.5 mpg going from 39 + mpg to 42. 5. Judy has a heavier foot than I do so when she drove home, she only averaged 40 mpg. Still excellent, but less than what I achieved because she is more prone to speeding than I am.

Meditating on our mpg rates gave me an important but obvious insight about my life. That made me think how fast I am speeding through life. I wondered how much am I missing as I rush from place to place.  We have so many great milestones happening in the Greene family that I don't want life to pass me by. Amichai has finally found a job in his field with a salary and benefits. He has officially moved out making him the last Greene boy to leave home. Now we have to make dates to see our New York based children, Ami, Asaf, and Valery. I love my family so I better slow down and make time for them. Hillel and Lily live in Boston and future baby Greene is the real reason we bought the car for now we're planning to visit them quite more often. We certainly want to be a regular part of our grandchild's life. As an extra bonus, we can visit at the same time Roni and Rebecca too for they also live in Boston.  I pondered what else am I missing out in because I am speeding through life?

I know I am not unique. We are all running from one place to another. For some of us, it's car pooling the children from one activity to the next. For others we're running as fast as so we can make a living. For still others, we're running from one doctor to the next. It seems all of us are speeding through life without stopping to smell the flowers and just be in the moment. The antidote to this I thought of the old Simon and Garfunkle 59thStreet Bridge Song.

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Hello lamp-post,
What cha knowin'?
I've come to watch your flowers growin'.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,
Feelin' groovy

I've got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.

When we slow down, we shall make the time for self-renewal, make the time to become more involved in Jewish life, make the time to show kindness, make the time to be charitable, and make the time to be parents and grandparents. Those are really worthwhile New Year resolutions. When we slow down we can actually take the time to become the people we truly want to be. No wonder we pray during these Awesome Days: “Let us number our days so that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12)

 Simon and Garfunkle were correct. That's pretty groovy!