The first time I heard Ms. Patty sing Modim Anachnu Lach with our religious school children during t’filah on a beautiful Sunday morning, it brought that prayer to life for me in a way that I had not previously experienced. Modim anachnu lach – we give thanks, we gratefully acknowledge, we are thankful…all are words that we use to express our gratitude to God for what we have in our life. Patty and those children sang it with such joy and abandon that I could not help but think about all of the things for which I am grateful. It is something that I try to do daily, even in the midst of the struggles and challenges of everyday life.
Now I digress for one moment to show you my struggle today. In college in CA in the 70’s, I took a speech class and had to write a speech about something newsworthy. I had it all written – it was about the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left wing revolutionary group active in the 70’s. The night before my speech was to be given, the shoot-out at the SLA house in Los Angeles happened, and I had to rewrite my entire speech because everything had changed.
So, this morning, as I continue to write, trying to finish this musing of mine about feeling grateful, it would be easy for me to start all over, thinking that the world I am writing about had changed once again. But it hasn’t really…everything that I am grateful for still exists – my family, my friends, my health, my temple community, my freedom. I have lost none of those. It is so important for me to realize this, and to continue the path that I am traveling in my life…be kind to others, make the world better, and love- above all, love. So, I ask you on this day which feels so different and makes some of us so anxious, to remember all you are grateful for, and to continue doing everything that you do to heal our world, to erase the divide, to love one another…if we ALL keep doing that, in my heart, I believe we will be just fine.