"On the Road to Ithaca, pray that your journey is long. For when you get to Ithaca, you will be disappointed. But don't blame Ithaca for disappointing you, for she has given you your journey." Paraphrased from Cavafy
Translation: Live. Now. In this moment. All 525,600 minutes of the year. Its all we have, all we can impact. Or, as Hillel said: "If not me, who? If not now, When?" Expanding on that thought "It is not up to you to complete the work. Not up to you to finish it. But neither are you free to desist from it." (Pirkei Avot, 2:21,20)
So, what is that work that we must participate in? I chose to define it as the act of Tikkun Olam (healing the world), perhaps our most important responsibility as human beings. Using the Hebrew text of the verse as my chorus, I wrote the following verses of a song expressing those thoughts:
"Justice burns within us, a flame so pure and bright. Lighting the path that we must walk all our days and all our nights. Its where we know that we must go, from where we cannot flee. A time and place where we take a stand to set all people free!
The load is heavy but its ours to bear, for we've been blessed by the hand of God, and given the charge to walk the path down the road where Peace is trod. Forged in the fires of Sinai, now the tools are in our hands, to work for Justice, for Tikkun Olam, to bring healing to the Land!"
I've seen the Taj Mahal at sunrise, the pyramids at sunset, been motorcycling on Bali and skin diving in the Red Sea. I've been overcome by the unspeakable majesty of the Rockies, as I stood outside my car in Red Lodge, Montana, and overcome by awe as I hiked the Grand Canyon.
Am I spiritual? Am I religious? Well, maybe the best answer to that lies in an a transcendent moment I had many years ago, as I was hiking up toward a glacier-fed lake in British Columbia:
"The closer you get to Nature, the clearer you see yourself, 'cause up here in the mountains, there ain't nobody else.
Except maybe that whisper of the wind through the trees,
Might just be the voice of God, putting you at ease.
Well the river sings the rhythm and sometimes the melody.
Just stop a while and listen - you'll begin to see.
That Mother Nature's singing you can feel it in your soul.
Take her music with you, it'll make you whole.