Let me share a secret with you. Whenever my fancy aches and my imagination begins to work overtime, I begin to wonder just what God is doing all the way up there in heaven beyond the recesses of our wildest dreams. Is he dusting the clouds, getting rid of the stale crumbs between the planets with a cosmic feather, preparing His universe for the festival of Passover? Or maybe he’s talking the resurrection over with Jesus, as to whether or not this year would be a good time to send him back down to earth and bring a much needed end to the world as we know it. Perhaps this year the wolf will finally dwell with the lamb and we can call it a night and sleep the big sleep. I guess I have a conjectural nature.
Don’t bet on it, though. In all probability another year will pass like every one before it, bringing no peace and little respite. The harshness of daily existence will proceed as we pray for the messiah (or his sequel). We will leave the door ajar for Elijah the Prophet. Many of us will put our money on Jesus. Neither of them will even enter the race. This is the fabric of tradition.
Yes, April is here, a tender time for Jews and Christians. Each of us will be caught up in our respective holiday verve, busy as little bees preparing, cleaning, imagining. Again our differences will float to the surface and become apparent. Some will speak of a shared heritage while others will deny this outright. We are getting ready to feel that special surge of identity, that twang in the soul that reminds us who we are and where we belong. Even atheists come home for the holidays.
We must brace ourselves for the onslaught. The waves of religious affinity will come rolling over us, the winds of faith will ruffle our feathers. This will be a trying time, and a tempting one for jihadists, political cartoonists, nogoodniks and other rabble rousers. They will attempt to break us, but we will stand strong. We will not let ourselves be swayed by their childish antics. Life, after all, is far too important to be taken seriously.
A Happy Easter and a Freylikhn Pesach to all.
Marc Alan Coen – also in THE NEWYORKERS column of this blog.