This break has been an interesting one. I've done a lot of wonderful things and played catch up with many of the important people in my life. I visited California and returned to St Louis for the first time since August. I had time to read books, watch movies, and spend quality time with people I love.
I was able to take off my "Cantor Face" for the first time since August.
I didn't realize just how huge or peculiar that would feel, or the incredible distinction I created for myself between "Cantor Fishbein", "Cantorial Student Tracy" and "Tracy". I haven't yet discovered how to combine my three glaringly different lives into one complete person, someone whose life is one neat package comprised of several different parts. It's difficult to be "Tracy" when I feel like I have to be "Cantor Fishbein" and so on.
But, at the same time, it's difficult to fully detach one from the other. I HAVE to be myself in my career, it comes with the job description.
This sense of confusion must be a part of growing up and growing into myself both as a person and as a professional. To be able to let go of the labels and feel completely myself despite where I am or what I am doing is something I pray will come in time. Maybe it's already happening, and I have to notice the distinctions before I can continue to grow.
This break is distinctly different in that I came home in a time of huge personal growth and professional successes, only to be met by many who are struggling for a variety of reasons. It isn't easy to be excited about and/or want to share my accomplishments with those who are fighting so hard. It's incredibly painful to watch people I love fall so heavily and difficult to find the right words to bring comfort or calm without sounding condescending. I learned over the course of these 2.5 weeks that sometimes the best thing you can do is to be fully present and just LISTEN. I'm beginning to learn that at certain times, not saying anything at all is the best thing you can do to help the people you love. Maybe this lesson a good intro to the hospital chaplaincy program I hope to participate in this summer, and something to remember forever as a clergy person.
I am by no means complaining. It's been a very interesting and life-changing experience to come back home and realize all of this important stuff.
I pray that 2010 brings a year of peace, fulfillment, and security to all of us, along with a healthy dose of happiness and laughter.
Ken Y'hi Ratzon.