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Repairing the World

Repairing the World

by Rev. Matthew Ruffner on July 08, 2021

I was a little surprised at how good it felt to stand in line at the newly re-opened Central Market last week. As I stood in line with my bounty of Pam’s Pimento Cheese, a memory came rushing back of standing in that same checkout line a few years back the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. My daughter Olivia, who was four at the time, and I had made our final extravagant selections.

We were ready to justify our splurges in the name of thankfulness, when the cashier asked, “Would you like to feed a hungry family in Dallas and ensure they have a Thanksgiving meal, by making a $1, $5, or $10 donation? Olivia replied immediately, “yes we would!” And the cashier asked, “Would you like to give “1, 5, or 10?” Olivia without missing a beat said, “10!”

The cashier looked at me and I confirmed with a nod of the head, and a brief verbal confirmation “yes, 10.” I figured it would be the cheapest thing in the cart! As we drove home, I asked Olivia why she was so quick to reply to the cashier and donate? She replied, “Because the cashier said, ‘There is a family that is hungry in Dallas and wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal. Daddy we have to do our part to repair the world.’ She took a long pause, and then said, ‘isn’t that right daddy?’”

“That’s right, sweetheart."

We drove a bit more and I had to ask her. “Hey Olivia, where did you learn that we are to repair the world?” “Don’t you remember daddy? That’s my classroom name at Temple Emanu-El! Remember dad, we are the Tikun- Olam class!” That’s right sweetie, you are the Tikun-Olam class”, the Hebrew phrase meaning to ‘repair/heal the world’.

I paid and walked to my car. The memory lingered and settled just on top of my heart. As I placed the car in reverse I had a sense of gratefulness for the memory that revealed what was true about the renewed building I had just exited, “it always takes longer to repair and heal, then it does to tear down.” My friends, may we be a people and a community that seeks to repair and heal our world.

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