Monday, July 2, 2012

July: Birthday Celebrations and the Things I Didn’t Know

As soon as the calendar pages turn over to July a whole new vista comes into view for me; a gift derived from the practice of taking personal inventories several times during the year. July is one of my two main times. The other is the period of the Jewish High Holidays.

July is the month of my birthday and that of my husbands and my daughter’s, my uncle’s and the whole U.S.A. etc. etc. and the anniversary date of my father’s death. In Jewish observance, the death of a parent is commemorated with certain specific rituals. The month of July is not formally ordained, of course, but it always brings a time of reflection for me along with celebration.

For as long as I can remember, July events, beginning with July 4th, draw me to explore the age-old existential questions; who am I and what am I doing here. Have I done well in living my life this past year and how can I do better in the coming year? What have I done with my life and what is the Divine assignment I am to carry out in the year to come.

I am grateful that I have been given another year of sight, especially as last year it had, once again, been frightfully threatened, improved somewhat and is now, again, of concern. That was the single greatest blessing for me this past year. Having taken an eight year sabbatical (1998 – 2006) to be blind and recover from it, I made up my mind going through the recent challenge that vision loss would not, again, include a sabbatical from living my life to the fullest.

I accomplished what I was determined to do on this score. And, I definitely get high marks, again this past year, for my efforts to be the best I could and contribute the best I can to people and life in general around me. I also learned a lot from the things that came my way, unexpectedly.

Here are some of the things I didn’t know last year, as July began, with the study, surprisingly, being the springboard, for so much.

I didn’t know that my idea and design for the Possible Human, Possible Society would hit the high mark in terms of things that were interesting and thought provoking for the people participating in it.

I didn’t know that interviewees would have so much to say that was fresh, well-thought out and hopeful about where our lives are presently taking us, even if a bit blaming and critical of the “others” at times. (Actually I expected the latter and was delighted by the former.)

I didn’t know how much generosity of time, thought-ful and soul-ful cxpression the study would draw forth from participants.

I didn’t know that had it not been for the dedication of Murat and those most closely supporting him, I would not have had the audacity to even imagine that an actual possible human and a possible society were within the achievable realms of current consideration.

I didn’t know/realize (until after many long interview conversations and the Abkhazian Dinner) that it was because of Murat’s opening up the possibilities within reach, including a detailed map and guides on how to reach them, that the study came into being.

I didn’t know that our Abkhazian Dinner event, bringing New Horizons’ volunteers together with study participants and local peace activists, would be a turning point for the study and open my eyes to so much that had changed in me since losing my eyesight (1998).

I am grateful for this birthday month of mine and that I have lived to see another year with opportunities to be with loved one.

P.S. If you want to know, my birthday is exactly two weeks to the day after the fourth of July. That’s how I remember it??? Or is that perhaps the way I remember July 4th?

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