the concurrent sounds of yesterday afternoon

Evan Schultz

About Evan Schultz

Evan Schultz is Senior Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT. As an avid lover of the outdoors, Evan spends much of his free time trail running local woods, paddle boarding on Long Island Sound, and going on hikes with his family and congregants. Evan and his family are stewards of the environment, doing their best to reduce their plastic use and waste. Evan was ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2012. He serves on the boards of Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT), a local community organizing cohort, and Operation Hope, a local organization dedicated to poverty eradication. Evan loves to read, write, learn, sing, and explore always with a great sense of curiosity and awe. You can read his writings and poetry on Instagram @barefoot_rabbi.

About the concurrent sounds of yesterday afternoon

I wrote this piece after officiating a funeral for a long-time congregant at our synagogue. As her adult children were sharing about her life, I paused for just a few moments to listen to all of the concurrent sounds around me. The woodpecker, the ambulance, the stories the children shared about their mother. In that moment I experienced a deep interconnectedness between human beings and nature, just by pausing to close my eyes and listen. During the Shmita we are often prompted to do the same – the pause and listen to the natural flow of the world around us. I have been thinking a lot lately about the interconnectedness of all things, and the human connection to the natural world. During the Shmita as the land rests, it offers invitation to each of us to pause more, to listen and hear the beautiful sights and sounds of the universe around us.

the concurrent sounds of yesterday afternoon

yesterday at a windy funeral service, as daughter and son shared stories of a mother’s life now sadly passed, i heard the tap tap tap of a woodpecker perched high up in a tree above, working hard to make a dent in the coarse bark and wood. and as son spoke of his mother’s life, a raucous band of sirens passed by, maybe to save a life, as we painfully gathered to remember one.

a funeral, a woodpecker, an ambulance, within just a few hundred feet of one another; each in our own plane of time, sharing the same air, making our own little dent in the world. i think about the interconnectedness of it all, the way in which all of creation, almost unbeknownst to one another, are more enmeshed in each others lives than we might think, if we pay attention.

and all this is to say that the all the concurrent sounds of yesterday afternoon was a personal reminder to always listen. to hear. to remember that we are all just trying to make a little dent in the tree, just like the woodpecker, or the ambulance, or the grieving child. and my hope that if there is redemption one day, it will only happen if we really listen to and hear all of the sweet and callous songs, cries, and voices that fill the windy afternoon sky.