A Little Weekend Reading: "Always Show Up"
What an ancient text might have to offer us right now on how to show up in a relentless world.
I usually avoid superlatives, but yesterday’s essay from Rabbi Sharon Brous may be the very best thing I have ever read in The New York Times, and it feels wildly needed right now as 2024 feels as relentless as 2023 (so far). We need each other. And we need to need each other as widely as we can possibly define the “we”:
It is an expression of both love and sacred responsibility to turn to another person in her moment of deepest anguish and say: “Your sorrow may scare me, it may unsettle me. But I will not abandon you. I will meet your grief with relentless love.”
We cannot magically fix one another’s broken hearts. But we can find each other in our most vulnerable moments and wrap each other up in a circle of care. We can humbly promise each other, “I can’t take your pain away, but I can promise you won’t have to hold it alone.”
In the essay, Rabbi Brous shares an ancient Jewish ritual of how communities created a physical experience of seeing and caring for a broad circle of care, meeting and greeting others in pain by asking not “what’s wrong with you?” but asking “what happened to you?” — not an accusation, but an invitation to share a story, share the pain, and be held — and perhaps redeemed.
Give it a read and imagine the society he paints:
NYT Guest Essay: Train Yourself to Always Show Up by Sharon Brous