Today is different. It just is. We have a former POTUS being indicted on 34 felony charges, with more to follow from different states. The state of Wisconsin is holding an April election to elect a new Supreme Court Justice who could sway the balance of power to the left. And, tomorrow is Pesach (Passover). During Passover the youngest at the table asks the Mah Nishtanah. This leads up to grand question of, “why is tonight different than any others?”
I’ve been asking myself this for a few years. Nothing seems normal. The new normal seems to be cluttered in regret, sorrow, and pain with some manageable moments sprinkled in. I’ve often prided myself on being abnormal. It’s my calling card. If you Google search “random”, I show up. I gravitate to the absurd and appreciate quotes about absurdity. “Absurdity is the ecstasy of intellectualism.”-Criss Jami. The past four years has shown the preposterousness that our universe holds.
I used to pride myself on chaos. I didn’t like things in their places. I loathed the simple. I didn’t understand it. In retrospect, I was never smart enough to fully grasp the benefits of simplicity. It’s a wonder I didn’t like math because I could easily elongate the easiest of equations. The only time I worked hard was to find a short cut for the task at hand. As my addictions increased, so did my anxieties. Each day was just like the other.
Eventually, I got sober. Within a few years, I had a cosmic change from within. I no longer sought chaos. Seeking serenity increased and became paramount. Order reigned supreme. Sure, I had my moments, but they were infrequent. With few exceptions, we were on autopilot. Minutes became days which years. Naomi and I got along, the kids were happy, and I liked my job. Then came the dreaded diagnosis.
Since that day, I haven’t had a day like any other. This is not to say that I prefer the absurdity or chaotic. Nothing could be further from truth. Everything is different. Tomorrow night, I will sit in my friend’s parents’ house at the Passover seder. I am reminded that, last summer, I was in the same place where Jesus spent his last seder. While I do not believe he was a deity, the historical value is priceless. I stood in the same place that Jacob, our rabbi, and I took an oath to visit together. It did not happen.
Last year, at this time, I was talking with Jackie regularly. She was making up her mind whether to leave Istanbul or stay. She missed her kids and her life. Is life worth living without those who make our lives possible? I now know the answer. I will continue to push for the best life I can make, with a heavy heart. Jacob wants me to sit at the Passover table with intention. I remember his last seder. It was noisy. We had chaos around us as we tried to tie together multiple zoom calls. Jacob didn’t like the noise and had a moment.
Today is different. We are changed forever.
Happy Passover to those who celebrate. Happy Easter to those who celebrate. I wish my Muslim brothers and sisters a meaningful Ramadan and others a happy Ram Navami. For those whom don’t fit this box, I wish you peace, too.
May you embark on meaningful thought and love of one another for today is unlike any other. This is always true
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