The Tabby’s Place Volunteer Picnic is an annual celebration of volunteers who volunteer at Tabby’s Place (like how I made that sound both redundant and not at the same time? Neat trick, huh?).
It’s a wonderful event for us all to get together to be feted and feasted by those whom we help (staff) in service to those whom we serve (CATS!!).
This year, the picnic was planned for 9/11. It will, instead, be virtual; awards will be announced online.
But, what if it weren’t virtual, and the timing were the same? What if things were different, and we could all come together to celebrate each other and Tabby’s Place?
Some would question whether that would be the right thing to do on September 11. Simply put, IMHO, absatively posilutely, fur sure, YES!
It is important to remember grave events, but not to pour salt in the wounds. The particular round of devastation on 9/11 and all of the cherished lost souls should be remembered; we should reminisce. Such remembrances, though, should never keep the living from doing just that.
For a look at the decidedly Jewish perspective that I grew up with, here is an example of finding balance in the wheel of time, the cycle of life and death.
If a wedding is scheduled, and someone crosses the rainbow bridge, the wedding is supposed to go on. After the joyous celebration of life and living is completed, there will be ample time for the funeral and the ensuing mourning period, shiva. But, always: life first. Also, always: honoring those who have left us. We do this at yahrzeit, at yizkor services, and by reciting kaddish, the mourners’ prayer.
Life and death are part of the same cycle. Each must be given its proper due, in balance with the other, and at the proper times. So, when we do come together, we need to recognize those individuals still among us, remember good deeds done by those present and passed, and look forward to the future.
I would be glad to have a picnic, even a virtual one, to celebrate my fellow volunteers on just such a day as 9/11, and at an event that celebrates all of our intertwined lives.
We are the torchbearers. Let our joys and celebrations be the candlelight that guides others to healing and mitzvot, worthy deeds.
Through our light and the light of those who bear similar torches, the post-9/11 world will continue to grow better and glow brighter than ever before, just as our beloved Tabby’s Place does year after year, and only because of a dedicated staff, generous donors, and a remarkable group of treasured volunteers.
I see you all, and I look forward to creating the next round of memories with you.