Ever stare at a blank piece of paper, or, in today’s terms, a blank screen, and wonder what to write? Trust me, it can be daunting! Perhaps it’s what inspired Ernest Hemingway to pen Courage is Grace under Pressure.
Seriously though, what is courage? And where is it found? It’s been described by many, and in many ways. Our cover story speaks to the courage one family found to move on after the untimely passing of their son and brother. They, their friends, his friends and the greater Armonk community remember and honor Jamie Love each year with a 5k run. Most of us are deeply fortunate in that we have not had to experience the nightmare that is the loss of a child. To come from that dark place to a wish for others to laugh and smile in Jamie’s honor is truly an act of courage as well as love.
Giving of ourselves is another way we show courage. While we are all familiar with the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you,” it isn’t always easy to step up and make a difference in others’ lives. In simple Darwinian terms, we’re programmed to put ourselves first. Time is precious, and truly as big a gift as many other resources. Those who make time to volunteer are not only doing good deeds, but showing that they can put aside their atavistic me-first tendencies. Our story, Neighbors Feeding Neighbors in Body and Spirit, describes the many ways local lay individuals and clergy members make our world a better place.
On the other hand, there are those among us who find it quite hard to say “No”. Psychologically speaking, they’re called “people-pleasers”. In general, people pleasers want everyone around them to be happy and they also often crave others’ approval. It’s a perfect-storm way to over-schedule and under-care for oneself. Consider the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. We love and look forward to it year after year; the traditions, the feast, the time off from work and school…and the chance to be with our friends and family. But, what if we’re not a Hallmark movie? What if we can’t house everyone or set a Martha Stewart table? Let’s have the courage to say “yes” to what we can do, and “no” to what we can’t. If you turn to When An Air Mattress Just Isn’t Enough, you’ll find we’ve gathered a list of great local lodging options that can help ease the strain of holiday hosting.
And speaking of Thanksgiving Traditions, make sure to read our fun piece on this very topic. Discover what some of your neighbors plan to do, maybe find an inspiration or two you’d like to try for yourselves! Chez moi, I know we’ll watch the parade in our PJs while cooking and setting up for the holiday dinner. I’m especially thankful to have my family coming to me this year, including one of my brothers, his children and his ex-wife! I admire their civility, and, yes, their courage in putting negative issues aside in order to celebrate the positive and make the holiday family-centric for all the children.
Election Day fast approaches. Do you know what positions are up for the vote in North Castle?
We offer a very helpful overview in They’re up for the Vote!; I highly recommend acquainting or re-acquainting yourself with the candidates. I’m volunteering to help at my polling place for the first time this year, and, I don’t mind sharing, I’m a bit anxious about it. I attended two evening workshops, but they both took place last summer. What if I can’t remember all the rules? Still, my sense of reason tells me I’ll be ok, that others with more experience will be available to help me and, more to our point about courage, that I owe myself the chance to prove myself as well as fulfill a great public service.
When we try something new, when we take that first step into the great unknown, we’re actually making the proverbial “leap of faith’. If you think about it, courage and faith actually walk hand in hand all the time. Psychotherapist Jodi Baretz describes the process in greater detail in “Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone.” And, back in September, my rabbi, Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe of Temple Beth El, delivered a very thought-provoking sermon on The Meaning of Faith; among the many takeaways, I share the following with you: Faith springs from the large gap between the two poles of certainty and absurdity…occurs when I am asked to act irreversibly upon only partial evidence…is not a matter of belief, as belief does not ask anything of me…is a matter of action, in which I am called to make a commitment based upon my convictions.
When Inside Press Publisher Grace Bennett approached me to help her launch this magazine, we knew each other very little and had only worked together once or twice previously. She took a leap of faith, as did I. And you, our readers and merchants, showed faith and courage too. You welcomed us and gave us the opportunity to become The Magazine for North Castle and Beyond. I’ll be stepping down as Executive Editor but will continue to contribute from time to time. So, this is not goodbye, but a fond farewell for now.
Happy Holidays, best wishes and, until the next time,