Balancing family is a challenge: not sometimes, but often. However, whether it is family by birth or those who have come to be family, there is nothing like one’s family. There are things we can ask of our family that we don’t feel comfortable asking anyone else. There are feelings that we have for family that never depart, despite the numerous times we may have attempted to bury certain relationships.
And yet, we so often forget that our families should be placed as the most important group with whom we interact daily, if not hourly. Sometimes we simply need to accept that our perspectives are different. Sometimes we need to redefine for ourselves whom we place in this funny little island we call family. And sometimes we need to be willing to carve out time and find energy to enjoy, appreciate and embrace our family.
A short story I heard many years ago: a rabbinic friend shared with me, with kids who are now grown, that family is there for the long hall, and we shouldn’t forget it. He reflected that once, many years ago, when his children were young, he went to a board meeting instead of attending his child’s birthday dinner. At the time, the rabbi shared, he thought he couldn’t possibly miss a board meeting. It was always important. Twenty years later, the board members had no idea whether or not he attended that board meeting, but the son remembered, and to this day would share the story of his father missing his birthday dinner. Family are there forever, so we should make our decisions wisely.
I try to write earlier in the day, but that often does not happen. Today was one of those days. I had the choice earlier today to write or come home and make Shabbat dinner for my family. I came home, since that is a value we take seriously in our home. And when Shabbat services were completed, but my blog was not yet written, I had a simple choice: go straight home to see my kids to bed, or stay and write in peace. I came home. I don’t always make that choice, but I try.
Perhaps, as we reflect in this month of Elul, we will consider the permanent role family has in our lives, and we will try a little bit harder.
Now let the sound of the shofar be heard;
And let our souls be awakened!
Shalom and Shabbat Shalom,
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