Monday, January 31, 2011

A Bris and a Funeral

Within the past week, I've received the best and worst kinds of news.

A friend's baby was born.

And a cousin died.

In the past four days, I've attended a bris and a funeral.

A bris, welcoming a new baby into the world. A funeral, saying goodbye to a man whose life was cut way too short.

We looked at the perfect newborn, with spiky red hair, and rosy cheeks, bundled up in a white blanket and we blessed him and thought of everything that awaits him in his lifetime.

And, we looked at the casket, and listened to the words of his 6 children (most of them teens), now without their father. We thought of everything that he had done, all of the lives he had created, shaped and touched in his short lifetime.

The moyel at the bris talked of future milestones that this beautiful baby boy would experience.

And the rabbi at the funeral talked about all of the milestones this middle aged man had experienced.

The proud parents stood side by side, wiping tears from their eyes. They said the baby was named after a dearly departed family member.

The grieving children talked about how their dad made time to take each one of them on their own vacation with him every year. They read letters and emails he had written them, telling them how proud he was of them. He had written to one son on his 21st birthday, "You're good at basketball, but you're sick (great) at life! That's the most important thing, to be sick at life!"

The bris ended with great relief and joy; the funeral, with great despair and sadness.

Next week, there will be another bris, a new baby born, and another funeral, a life extinguished. It goes on and on and on and on.

One big circle.

So, knowing that we're on this brief journey, what are we to do?

In the words of my dear cousin:

"Be sick at life."

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