There was a moment last Saturday night where I realized I was smiling in a way I hadn’t smiled in a long time.
Can’t tell you precisely why but I suspect some of it had to do with a feeling of community and a sudden understanding of something a teenage boy said to me.
It was an unexpected revelation that made me laugh because I have been trying to see how he connects the dots on one particular issue and just couldn’t do it.
That lack of connection and understanding was making me crazy because I generally follow where he is going or how he came to certain positions, but this time I couldn’t.
Given the amount of DNA we share I found it particularly onerous, this lack of understanding and wondered if there was a generation gap that I just couldn’t bridge.
Shine Your Light Just A Little Bit Brighter
A while back he told me he felt like people don’t always see him and I nodded my head and said I understood.
“Dad, you don’t mind being the center of attention and I hate it. People think I am quiet all the time and sometimes I am not.’
I told him I don’t always like being the center of attention and that I have gotten very good at slipping in and out of places with little fanfare.
That is an achievement for a man who doesn’t know how to whisper and isn’t exactly the definition of graceful.
“Sometimes you have to shine your light a little bit brighter and make people know you are there. When I play ball, I don’t always wait to see if they are going to pass it to me. I go into the paint and take it.”
Flash forward to Saturday night, I am holding my hand up, waiting to be called on so I can ask a question but the speaker doesn’t see me.
Two or three hands go up after mine and get called upon before me.
I mull over clearing my throat or doing something else to shine my light a little brighter but figure there is no rush and sure enough I am spotted and called upon.
The next day I make a point to call him and share the story. We talk about what it felt like and a few other things and I feel the dots connect for both of us.
“We may be very different people in some ways, but we are more similar than different.”
“I know, it is because we have the same hands and feet.”
I let his teenage sarcasm go and tell him it is much deeper than physical similarities.
What Are The Rules Of The Game?
Multiple bomb threats were made today to various Jewish organizations around the U.S. and I think some places in the U.K.
It is part of why there is a growing tension among friends and loved ones.
Antisemitism has never been a huge problem for us and we are grateful for that and maybe lucky to not have been born a 100 years earlier or in other countries.
I have been paying close attention and thinking about the best way to respond but haven’t come up with a definitive plan yet.
That is because this feels like a game where I don’t know what the rules are and that makes me a bit more cautious.
It doesn’t mean I am afraid to take action because that is not the issue. The issue is I want to do something to help that is going to make a real difference and that is a challenge when you don’t know the rules of the game.
What I know is I want to shine my light a little bit brighter and help more people understand there is a community they can turn to.
It doesn’t remove all fear and uncertainty but it helps take some of the edge off when you can share the load.
The other impact of these incidents is having it is pushing me to find a community to join in real life a bit sooner than I might have otherwise done.
One person can only do so much, but many people can accomplish quite a bit.