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life is like a roller coaster

08/05/2021 12:22:17 PM

Aug5

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Thus begins the Charles Dickens classic, “A Tale of Two Cities”. This describes the past two weeks in my family’s life. I had the privilege of escorting my daughter up our driveway last summer and then performing her wedding ceremony. Due to COVID-19, only a few people were present, and fortunately, no one contracted it that day. Two days later, hurricane force winds downed two trees at our home, and one of them fell on both of their cars. Thank God no one was standing in that immediate area.

Just ten days ago, I had the privilege of once again walking my daughter down the aisle and performing what I call a “re-wedding”, a revised ceremony that celebrated nearly one year of marriage. The celebration that had been deferred one year was safely held. I will speak more about the joy of celebrating at a different time. The following day we held a breakfast for out-of-town guests before they returned to their homes. We returned to our home at noon. At 12:10 I answered a telephone call from my brother-in-law: my mother-in-law had just died.

The image of a roller coaster kept appearing in my head, as that was what life seemed like, not merely from experiences over the past two summers, but life’s experiences in general. I had read a free verse poem written by Alex Schachter, one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He had composed this just a few weeks prior. I’ve spoken to his father Max a few times, most recently just a few months ago. I share Alex’s poem with you.

Life Is Like A Roller Coaster
A Free Verse Poem By Alex Schachter
Life is like a roller coaster
It has some ups and downs
Sometimes you can take it slow
Or very fast
It may be hard to breathe at times
But you just have to push yourself
And keep going
Your bar is your safety
It’s like your family and friends
You hold on tight and don’t let go
But sometimes you might throw your hands up
Because your friends and family will always be with you
Just like that bar keeping you safe at all times
It may be too much for you at times
The twists,
The turns,
The upside downs,
But you get back up
And keep chugging along
Eventually it all comes to a stop
You won’t know when
Or how
But you will know that it will be time to get off
And start anew.
Life is like a roller coaster.

Alex put into words exactly how I am feeling, and he left this poem as a gift. May Alex’s memory always be for a blessing. I used to ride roller coasters in my youth. My favorite were the older, wooden, rickety ones, although the modern ones are quite impressive, but they are for me to look at and reminisce.

The ride finished, I unbuckled my harness, lifted the safety bar, and exited the ride. Then I got back on line, because life is a roller coaster. This blog is dedicated to my dear mother-in-law, who was really a second mother to me, and I mourn her passing. May the memory of Francine Siegel always be for a blessing.

Thu, September 23 2021 17 Tishrei 5782