Friday, April 26, 2013

A Composition of Your Own Making

Writing a composition is an art.

Write neatly between the lines.
Remember to capitalize.
Punctuate using the elements of grammar.
Be concise. No redundancies.
Be clear and have a thesis.
Pick the proper prepositions.
Stop when you complete the thought.
Don’t linger. Move on to the next composition.

Composing your life is an art where you are both artist and masterpiece.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life's Grateful Mistakes

When one of her students made a math mistake in the classroom, my friend, a former elementary school teacher would gently say to the embarrassed child:

Thank you for making the mistake so that others can learn from it.

She would then explain how to tackle the problem and correct it so that the next time her students would be able to solve the math puzzle on their own.

What a life lesson!

So often we need to be our own teachers and gently say to ourselves:

Thank you for making the mistake so that I may learn from it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Cemetery in Common

Three years ago, my college friend Rachel and I made a discovery! Our late beloved parents are buried in the Cedar Park/Beth El Cemetery in Paramus, New Jersey.

Rachel grew up in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan, and I grew up in the Bronx. During their lifetimes, our parents resided in different neighborhoods, but they were cut from the same Jewish cloth. Both came from Poland. Both spoke mainly Yiddish. Both carried immigrant baggage. Both had two daughters. Both were humble and faithful to the Blessed One, Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

After a fifteen-minute car ride from Rachel’s house in Teaneck, New Jersey, we entered the gates of memory.

I stood next to Rachel and encouraged her to read aloud from the wooden-framed poem she had written many years before her father’s death. Her voice and tempo assured the sincerity of this premiere recitation at graveside.

The Cane by Rachel Schulman

It stands between us
cold scepter demanding attention
shining with flawless glow
old man's obdurate gavel
Erect as you bend before it
A testimony to time and change


We glance at it and look away
sheepish smile on both our faces
Knowing that something new has entered our relationship
the once infinite demanding to be addressed
and my love for you expressed
faster than I would have done before

as we both pay silent obeisance

Rachel and I bowed in silent obeisance before the passing images of our four parents. With this poem and in this setting, our friendship reached a higher rung. It appeared that we had more in common than we had just yesterday.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Perhaps Today

Perhaps today I will realize a long forgotten dream.

Perhaps today my routine will be shattered by a stranger’s need, or an unexpected phone call, or a refreshing pause in an otherwise busy day.

Perhaps today I will look up instead of down and in that moment I will see the same thing from a greater perspective, and something indescribable will change inside of me.

Perhaps today, I will look for that silver lining in my life and experience the truth of it all.

Perhaps today, you will join me on this quest for a grateful life.