Sharon Mark CohenComment


Sharon Mark CohenComment

Where do our travels take us? How do the messages we see when we journey to new places impact our lives?

The sign painted above the exit to a French cafe in Charlotte, North Carolina is inspirational. The quote by the French food critic, Grimod de La Reynière (11-20-1758—12-25-1837), who wrote, “Life is so brief that we should not glance either too far backwards or forwards … therefore study how to fix our happiness in our glass and in our plate,” undoubtedly started lots of conversations. Let’s just say, it was food for thought

Ensconced in the holiest of the Jewish holidays, the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah brings lots of reflection and introspection, along with anticipation about the future. Again, there is much to discuss.

My mother-in-law used to say the older you get, the faster the years pass. I knew her for 37 years, however, the last ten were marred by her dementia. I’m glad we had the time to look back and discuss the days of yore. We also looked to the future.

We did enjoy our “here and now” time together, while always dealing with trials and tribulations, which we were trying to simply navigate through. There was my brother-in-law’s severe case of multiple sclerosis, and other serious family health issues that were like poison on our plates, which we were faced with, yet didn’t have the power to improve.

Sometimes the day to day and what’s on the plate isn’t as easy to fix and we may get more enjoyment out of thinking about the past with times of some true happiness, along with thoughts of a future with hope.

“It’s all good” became a catch-phrase in recent years but we all know it is not all good. Just ask someone who has no roof over their head, no food on their table, or a dire health issue.

Just short of his 50th birthday, my cousin, recently diagnosed with a metastatic carcinoma, bravely wrote, “Mortality is interesting to think about. I don’t know that I will die from this but I don’t know that I won’t either. Trying to think about how I want to spend my remaining days is daunting. I don’t want to waste them. I don’t want to spend them doing things that don’t make me happy. I don’t want to worry about things I can’t control.” That profound statement seems to say it all.

Life and how we deal with it is not always in our control. Often, what makes life palatable are the memories, which at times are sweeter than what’s on our plate, or the hopes for a future with peace and the absence of pain.

For those celebrating the Jewish New Year 5780, “Shanah tovah” (שנה טובה), which means “Good year.”