Wow! This is the last column I will write for the Bulletin as President of your Temple Judah Board of Directors. As I reflect on the last two years, I am a bit amazed that I came up with topics for 24 columns! And without repeating any topic. I actually did a quick skim of all my columns. A true alphabet of topics ranging from family to the TJ community to values and what I call “self improvement” topics. I hope you find some value in some of them. I have enjoyed writing them.
I have truly enjoyed being President. I am blessed with a good Board – people who care about this community and want what is best. It is difficult to reflect on the last two years, and summarize my term in this office. And I am not going to attempt to do so. I will leave with a Thank You! to everyone in the TJ community who put their trust in me and came on this journey with me!
We move forward. The one thing consistent about life is that things change. (No this is not a column about change – I did that once.) Something that is at times difficult about change is acceptance. We want life to be predictable. We don’t like surprises. Especially if they were not our idea. Or if we think it is a “bad” idea. Or it is something new, different, feeling foreign.
How does one tell the difference between what we need to accept and what we should work to change? I am not referring to things that are clear, like accepting traffic laws and working to change injustice. The things we struggle to accept tend to be more subtle, but sometimes more irksome. Road construction that messes with our daily commute. Bad drivers. Changes in procedures at work. New ways of doing something. The closing of a favorite store or restaurant. The unavailability of a product you have “used for years.” The personality of an individual you find hard to work or be with.
With apologies to Alcoholics Anonymous, I am going to do a brief paraphrase of one their key philosophies. Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change what I can, wisdom to know the difference. The key to both acceptance and change lies in the wisdom. Where does our wisdom come from? Oh, from so, so many places. People you know, trust and admire: both in person and in the written word. Our values. How we were raised and taught. Our spirituality and religious beliefs. And the list could go on to some length.
The key to acceptance in my humble opinion is accessing that wisdom. It is the same wisdom that we access when making decisions about change. We are all wise. We are intelligent, educated, have “life experiences.” We have wisdom. And I believe with wisdom, comes patience. And I believe patience is key to learning acceptance.