November 20, 2018
One of my favorite movies is “Fiddler On The Roof”. Tradition! Tevye’s life is built on it. His entire Jewish community is built on it. Two of his daughters challenge Tradition by choosing who they will marry and Tevye wavers back and forth. Should he give his blessing or no? He chooses to let go of a tradition because he loves his daughters. It is hard, but he does it.
The third daughter makes a choice that he cannot bless. He cannot even have relationship with her if she chooses to go down that path. A path that flies in the face of Tradition! A path that rejects his Jewish faith.
His response is “No! No! If I bend that far, I’ll break!”
Every holiday season I am challenged to ponder my traditions, the traditions of my family. The ones I have put in place over the years. My family is not challenging them this year, and in past years when they have, it has always been pretty easy for me to be flexible. To change. The day may come when it won’t be so easy. They are older and have busy lives. I am older and get tired.
And some Traditions get old and maybe boring after we’ve done them so long. Do we keep doing it because routine has become Tradition!? Maybe. And maybe I don’t want that. Maybe I can be the one to challenge some of my traditions!
Here’s a little thing. Every Thanksgiving I put paper and pencil at everyone’s place. They write what they are most thankful for this year. I’ve saved all those slips! But, it’s become pretty repetitive over the years. We’ve kinda gotten into saying the same things and it takes a long time for eighteen people to read their list.
So this year I’m not doing that. I’m gonna shake it up a bit by taping a big sheet of white paper on the wall in the family room where we gather. Let everyone pick their favorite color crayon and write or draw what has been special about this year. Maybe changing the format will make it fun again and will prompt new responses! I bet it will.
But a bigger question always plagues me. Is there a tradition that, like Tevye, I cannot, will not bend for? That if I do I will break? I can’t think of one, but every year I wonder about this.