In Jason Mraz's second verse, he sings: "The second thing I do is I close both of my eyes and say my 'thank yous' to each and every moment of my life. I go where I know the love is and let it fill me up inside, gathering new strength from sorrow, I'm glad to be alive."
I don't know if it was the fact that it was Thanksgiving- a day when my Facebook feed was blowing up with statuses of gratitude- that made me internalize the message of this verse, but I immediately thought of my music family out in Oconomowoc. I knew I'd need an extra boost in those first few days of November when I normally experience those pre-winter blues, so I went to a URJ camp in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin - a place where I knew the love would be.
In our cozy little tight-knit Jewish music community, we gathered our strength from sorrow and constantly reminded each other why we should be grateful to be alive. I'm not usually the kind of person who counts my blessings, and in fact, I often find it irritating when people insist that the problems of the world will all go away if we just focus on the positive. I can easily get bogged down with the stresses of life, but for as long as Jason Mraz is playing in my earbuds, I will continue to dance and sing and dream.
Though Thanksgiving has come and gone, our Jewish tradition still encourages us to say 100 blessings a day. I don't have 100 at this very moment, but I'll start here: Thanks to my millennial wanderlust, I've ended up in some strange and wonderful places. On this Shabbat, I'm grateful for all of the strange and wonderful creatures I've encountered over the years who inherit the lands of Oconomowoc, Boston, NYC, and other random places across the world. May we all find our shining sun beyond the dark clouds; I know I've found mine.
Director of Youth Engagement
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
There's a cool non profit organization called Trip of a Lifetime (started by an Scarsdale Synagogue recent college grad!) that works to provide life-changing travel experiences to young people who might not otherwise have the chance to discover new friends and community in other places. Learn more about the organization.
As you can tell, I love music. Check out my cover of the Jason Mraz song by clicking on this video clip: