Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Habitat, Sukkot, and Gratitude

Above: Habitat for Humanity volunteers from the UUCiA.

This past Saturday, I participated in a Habitat for Humanity “build day” along with several members of the UUCiA (I was there for a half day; the others for the entire day). It was my very first Habitat for Humanity experience, and I was very impressed. In addition to being impressed by the skills and generosity of the volunteers (our own, and the others there that day), I continue to be impressed by the organization itself.

The site for the “build day” this past Saturday was a site that had been destroyed in a January 2008 fire. The Habitat volunteers are rebuilding it, hopefully to be finished by the end of this year. No structure is permanent, no matter how well-built...

Of course, we are in the midst of the Jewish holiday known as Sukkot. A sukkah (singular of sukkot) is a temporary structure, a kind of a tent or “booth”. During the holiday of Sukkot, our observant Jewish sisters and brothers build these temporary structures. This is to remind them of the time when the Jewish people were wandering in the desert for forty years after leaving Egypt. As a colleague recently reminded me, the fragility and impermanence of a sukkah is meant to remind us of the fragility and impermanence of our very lives.

Just as no structure stands forever, no one lives forever. But to my way of thinking, acts of generosity and loving-kindness are eternal. Acts of generosity and loving-kindness live forever in the memories of those who experienced them, and passed on that love in their own way. My Habitat for Humanity experience was inspiring.... I am grateful for the kindness of people all around me who continue to pass on the love.

No comments: