Just Five More Minutes (and then Life Passed Me By!)
It was impossible to make it to the gym at 6 a.m. this morning because I only woke up at 7. And I asked myself, "Is this going to be another year like that? You know the kind! The one where a better version of you is thriving in your heart and mind, but in real-time the snooze button is getting more traction than the treadmill.
In a few days we will all hear another kind of wake-up call, and it will emanate from the shofar, the ram’s horn meant to serve our soul like a well-intentioned alarm clock, and shake it from its slumber. So many times I've heard the sounds from that instrument, sometimes in mighty blasts and sometimes petering out because the blower ran out of steam. In either case its holy sounds invigorate my best intentions and make me want to run a spiritual marathon and do everything "right" in the year ahead. I doubt there is a single person who exits the synagogue at the end of the holidays that doesn't strive to be better and want more for himself in the year set to unfold.
But we are doomed to conk out in the first mile for one simple reason: we are still dragging along all our old habits, insecurities and excuses of years gone by which surely muffle the beckoning call of the finish line. So perhaps the better question is not, "Is this going to be another year like THAT?" but rather are YOU going to be like THAT again this year? (Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result.)
It's funny how we all get so incensed when politicians tell us what we want to hear, but the truth is we lie to ourselves and pander to ourselves more than anyone else. We manufacture excuses for ourselves with great agility as to why we didn't, why we shouldn't, why we can't. So I'm here to tell you something you have never heard before: Yes we can! God has put into us everything we need to succeed. All we have to do is stop hitting the snooze button and coddling ourselves in fake comfort zones while bemoaning how bad our lot is.
Before turning to heaven in the coming year and asking "God where are You?" Ask yourself "Where are YOU? Is your head in the refrigerator while you're praying to be skinny? Are you sleeping at noon while you're praying to be successful? Are you hiding in your house while praying to meet the man of your dreams? Are you screaming at your spouse while praying for a better marriage? Are you gossiping about people while praying to be a better person?
I like to imagine that the New Year is a vicious and scrupulous customs officer, so before I get "on board" it's best to clean out my baggage and leave the garbage behind.
Friends, here's your declaration card-- what are you bringing into the New Year?
And here I conclude with a prayer that we will all be inscribed in the Book of Life and that the echoes of the shofar will resonate all year long in our hearts and minds so that our feet will stay in lockstep with our best intentions and deliver them to the finish line. Shana Tova!