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joy

03/31/2022 08:19:55 AM

Mar31

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

I had the honor and privilege this past weekend of officiating at the wedding of a former Bat Mitzvah student of mine.  Just to be asked was indeed thrilling, for it meant that at this very important moment in her life, she wanted me there once again to make it happen. I’ve known her for many years, and when I saw her being escorted down the aisle by her parents, I felt as though it was my own daughter walking down the aisle. I shed a tear, had the proverbial lump in my throat, and my heart swelled with pride and joy, grateful to God that I could witness this special moment.

I felt the same way during the catered event afterwards, and especially at one particular moment: the father/daughter dance. The volume of music was too loud as is typical for most events, which demands that you have to raise your voice to engage in a conversation. But as the dance began, all conversation stopped, and other than the music playing, the room was silent as all eyes were on the pair dancing. Having had the privilege to do so with my own daughter last summer, I knew exactly how the father felt. The room was not large enough to hold the joy of that moment. Despite the obvious question of “where did the time go”, from my perspective, the opportunity for a father to dance with his daughter at her wedding is a highlight of a father’s life. I shed a tear once again at the thrill of being present at that moment, vicariously celebrating this beautiful sight as my heart overflowed with joy. Words failed me, as my emotions were on a much higher plane.

On the car ride back home, reflecting on the days spent with the family and friends, I realized that I had for a brief moment in time escaped the realities of the world and experienced a utopian-like world. I did not feel guilty that the troubles around the world and in our country were not on my mind. I came to recognize that all of us need mental health time, to disconnect from the burdens that can overtake our souls, and experience a period of joy that is boundless. For that short period of time, the scales of life were fully tipped on the side of joy.

All of us hope that on a daily basis we are able to sustain an equilibrium between the sometimes harsh realities of the world and the happy moments. There are days when we are successful, and then there are days where the troubles seem to outweigh the good. And then there was this weekend, where no troubles weighed on me, and pure elation flowed through and over me. I am grateful to God that I could officiate at the wedding and bear witness to joy. The realities of life resumed on the return ride back as we drove through four spring snow squalls that produced whiteout conditions, and a fifty-car pileup on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania that led to the loss of at least three lives as I write this blog. I’m grateful to God that my travels did not involve any accidents nor fatalities.

We all need to find moments of happiness and joy within our lives on a daily basis, for a day filled solely with sadness is not healthy. Perhaps you might even be fortunate enough as I was to fully escape and be enveloped in love and joy. If you can, I think that is a good thing, and that would be my hope and blessing to offer you.

Sun, May 22 2022 21 Iyyar 5782