From Where I Stand

Andrea and I just figured out that we have cancelled four vacations this summer of COVID-19. There was the family gathering at a well- known beach resort near Charleston, South Carolina. It would have been such fun to all be together in a beautiful setting. Cancelled – too dangerous!

                There was the house in Maine on the rocky sea coast which offered sufficient sleeping for all of us and a fully equipped kitchen and a lovely backyard with a grill. Cancelled – too uncertain!

                Then, just the two of us booked a room at our favorite inn on the ocean in Kennebunkport. We have found rest and refreshment there since 1984. Yes, the room with the view was available. COVID distancing was respected in their dining room. No need to sit in restaurants. Cancelled – guests from Louisiana were not welcome at this time!

                And then, finally, just a few days at a well-known resort near Mobile. But, wait. We really were not comfortable with the risk of infection. Would we even leave our room? We have a lovely pool at home. Cancelled!

                This is the uniquely miserable summer when you and I will, with great reluctance trade adventure and all the pleasures of vacationing and summer camping in favor of caution and responsible behavior. Our health and that of our dear ones and total strangers rests in our ability to deny ourselves.

                I remember how columnist Sydney Harris once observed:

The art of living successfully consists in being able to hold two opposite ideas in tension at the same time: to make long-term plans as if we were going to live forever; and second, to conduct ourselves daily as if we were going to die tomorrow.

                COVID has certainly caused us to pay attention to its threatening presence. But, I hope, we will stubbornly continue to make plans for happier days and unfettered opportunities. Let’s just stay well and trust in God and in one another that, as our Jewish tradition instructs us –

Gam Zeh Ya’avor
This, too, shall pass.

Faithfully yours,
Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn