This past weekend, we Shalvas four traveled to Boston for a good friend's wedding. We lived in Boston for three years and only moved to Northern Virginia less than a year ago. We drove past our old house, with its bright red door, and my body still remembered every bump in the road, every turn of the wheel needed to navigate us through those narrow streets. We visited good friends, our children playing together as if no time had passed. A few days in Boston, and the year away disappeared.
Yet, throughout the weekend, we felt like visitors. We navigated our memories like tourists, eager to glimpse the landmarks that, in days past, had served to orient our lives. At one point, driving past the synagogue where I had served as rabbi, I was struck by how detached I felt. For three years, I had driven up to its low-roofed facade in every kind of emotional weather. My passion, my ego, my hopes, my fears - they had played themselves out in that sanctuary. Yet, a year away, and all that drama felt like a distant dream.
Now that I'm home, the current drama of my life greets me like a giant retriever after a long day stuck inside. Anxieties leap onto my chest, overwhelming me with kisses, and I know that this life here, right now, is no dream. I am not a tourist. Nor do I have the emotional distance of a year's absence to soften the questions, dilemmas, hopes and fears.
Yet, in the midst of this chapter's uncertainty, I have faith that a year from now, I will drive through these memories and see them, too, as a distant dream. Holding that dichotomy - feeling the burn of the moment while remembering that every moment appears and disappears like a passing cloud - this is the work of the yogi.