I’ve pushed off posting this for a while, there’s been a tragedy in my community and some scary family issues, and it seemed a bit insensitive to be posting beautiful photos of my beautiful family’s beautiful life. It still does.
In a way though, the timing is perfect. The best reaction to tough news is to resolve to live more fully, more joyously, more intensely. To spend more time with people that matter, doing things that matter.
My family is who matters, spending time with them is what matters. But we sometimes get so caught up in surviving that we forget to live.
There are those ”quote photos” that people post and share on facebook (for some reason posting pictures of words ticks me off to no end. I’m weird like that). None of them are too monumental or mind blowing, but sometimes they do strike a chord. One I saw recently was something to the effect of... Okay there is no way I’m going share the text from a photo of text here. I just can’t. I’ll share something from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden instead.
“...that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly that, if an enemy take the town, he can, like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety.”
“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”
So in order to be we choose something to do, and then something to do with, and we become so obsessed with the day-to-day doing and doing with that we forget about the being.
Eg. I’d love to be able to learn, pray, and connect to Hashem a good chunk of the day. I really would. I enjoy those things. But in order to do this I must provide some sort of service which a fellow man is willing to pay for. So we chop wood, cobble, milk cows, and herd sheep. We become businessmen, blacksmiths, candle-makers, internet hacks, healers, and coders.
So we could then live with a sense of comfort, with food, shelter, and clothing. But then we start to shift our focus, instead of spending our free time connecting, praying, learning, walking with our special other, playing with the kids; we think of more ways to make money, and when we talk with friends it isn’t about the things that matter, it’s about cobbling, coding. And even worse, while we are praying, hiking, learning, our minds wander to what? To the exact things we have taken on ourselves to allow ourselves the luxury of praying, hiking, learning. Being.
Therefore, I, Zalmy Berkowitz, he of the large beard, broken glasses, thrift store jackets. Drinker of good beer, watcher of cows; light trapper, memory collector; he of the beautiful wife and delightful children; Confuser of pronouns; resolve to actively concentrate on being, and relegate the doing and doing with to exactly that. Tools with which I can spend more time doing what I really want.
Will this resolution stick. I highly doubt it. But the more one thinks about something, the more the truth sinks in. Sinks past your consciousness, slides through your sub-conscious (not your “unconscious”! Please, you don’t “unconsciously think” or “unconsciously react”), wiggles down your esophagus, until it gets firmly entrenched in your heart. And then what you know becomes what you do, and who you are.
With that I present my family’s year. Not just the best photos, but my favorite ones.
Enjoy the ride. Keep your hands inside the moving vehicle at all times, and for the intellectually challenged, there is even a video (narrated by botox lady. And that whole "no electronics" thing? Complete balderdash.) instructing in the exact process of buckling a seatbelt. Yes, I’m looking at you, Airline companies. Seriously?