Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Days are like scrolls


After eating fabulous food at a party given by one of my favorite Bloggers on Saturday, I partook of some soul food (that is, food for the soul) at Temple Micah’s Selichot service. This prayer service is sort of a warm-up for the high holy days, which are fast approaching.

When the congregation split up into small discussion groups, we joined our new young rabbi Esther, who opened with a quote from an 11th century scholar: “Days are like scrolls; write on them what you wish remembered.” As we reflected over the past year, we thought about who we were. As we looked ahead to the future, we contemplated who we would like to become.

Unfortunately there are no erasers for past days. Instead we must content ourselves with words of apology sincerely offered.

The future is truly a blank slate, unspoiled by words or actions. It may actually provide a chance to right the wrongs of the past.

I sometimes wonder how my epitaph will read. But I hadn’t thought about the fact that I’m writing it little by little as I exist in the land of the living. I hope this time next year I will be happy to look back at what I have written on the days in between.

Esther ended the discussion by singing the following song written by Phil Ochs:

When I'm Gone

There's no place in this world where I'll belong when I'm gone
And I won't know the right from the wrong when I'm gone
And you won't find me singin' on this song when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't feel the flowing of the time when I'm gone
All the pleasures of love will not be mine when I'm gone
My pen won't pour a lyric line when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't breathe the bracing air when I'm gone
And I can't even worry 'bout my cares when I'm gone
Won't be asked to do my share when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't be running from the rain when I'm gone
And I can't even suffer from the pain when I'm gone
Can't say who's to praise and who's to blame when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

Won't see the golden of the sun when I'm gone
And the evenings and the mornings will be one when I'm gone
Can't be singing louder than the guns when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

All my days won't be dances of delight when I'm gone
And the sands will be shifting from my sight when I'm gone
Can't add my name into the fight while I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't be laughing at the lies when I'm gone
And I can't question how or when or why when I'm gone
Can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

There's no place in this world where I'll belong when I'm gone
And I won't know the right from the wrong when I'm gone
And you won't find me singin' on this song when I'm gone while I'm here
So I guess I'll have to do it
I guess I'll have to do it
Guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

7 Comments:

Blogger lacochran said...

I actually love the concept of taking time to figure out where you've wronged people and try to make it right. Sort of 12 step-ish. :)

(And it was great to see you!)

5:56 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I think I love your new rabbi, Esther. What a great concept - days like scrolls - and she's right. They are. But we only really remember that which we've written. We let the rest so. We just need to think before we write because the ink seems to be indelible.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I like your rabbi, too. And "days are like scrolls;" what a great metaphor for the possibility of living each day in an aware and accountable way!

As for writing your epitaph day by day, think of your piano practice, Barbara; what you do is what you learn, yes?

F.

1:41 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Nice post. Soulful and soul food indeed.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Guess I'll have to do it while I'm here!

7:15 AM  
Blogger karen said...

I love this post, Barbara, thanks very much!

PS I often can't leave comments on your blog for some reason, but I always read everything, anyway!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Great song! I wish I liked Phil Ochs more as a singer -- but he's an excellent songwriter, if this is any indication.

11:36 AM  

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