Monday, October 12, 2015
Serendipity....an occurrence by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
How strange I should find my little bird today. See the bird on the left? The small one? Well, about two years ago I lost him. Well, I didn't exactly lose him. He sits on my deck railing and one day, a squirrel or bird must have knocked him off. I searched for him below and around the deck but never found him. I imagined one day I would find him in the leaves or at the base of a bush....he's made of some type of heavy metal so he can't be carried away or dissolved.
That I would find him today....well that is where the serendipity comes in. Today, I am almost free from a project that took, ironically, two years. It is like we were both found again....the little bird to regain his place next to his friend and my to regain my life back.
Two years ago, I finished my adult bat mitzvah and began planning and implementing an historical research project into the Archives of our Temple. I never thought the project would last two years......never ......but Sunday I gave my lecture and presentation to the congregation and now I have only about a dozen pages left to write of a self-published photo journal book which documents the project.
12 pages left.....I've already written 80 pages and embedded them with beautiful pictures of ceremonial objects around the Temple. For two years, I've researched our Torahs and ceremonial/ritual objects that have a connection to our Torahs. It's the first time anyone has handled history this way in the congregation but I was just hell-bent and determined once I started discovering stories and donors to find a way to document them so the history and the object stay married. A congregation or a family is like a wave....it peaks with a certain number of people and then dips to form a new wave with a new generation of people. The stories and facts I found were just at this generation's peak and if I didn't capture them....they would slip away. It's frightening how easy stories can be lost.
So I asked, emailed, researched and talked to many people over the last two years to record their data and pictures and to put all of this collected history in a book to save them....and maybe me too.
It's quite powerful to feel you are adding to history....you realize you alone are making sure this information, this picture gets moved and remembered in the future. It feels important. It feels like a privilege. I can understand why people get addicted to research. It's not often you feel that something you do will outlast you...and yet my book will go to the State Library and to a Library in Ohio and to our own library and our Archives. Some day someone I won't know will look at it and be happy that I wrote down the stories and captured the information when I did. Making someone happy or thoughtful in the future....I think that's the joy of history.
So with a dozen pages left, and my presentation now finished.....I can leisurely edit and finalized my project over the next month. And just like the little bird, my life, which has centered around this project, comes back to me ...quite unexpectedly ....and I wonder where I will go from here and what new adventures I will tackle for my next life project.