Every so often, there is something or other I really want to write about, but I don’t. Maybe because it seems silly, maybe because I don’t know if anyone else will care, maybe because it feels overwhelming. I’ve had a few of those recently.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected]

Sometimes though, things align so perfectly a person just can’t ignore it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi in the U.K. A man of staggering intellect, deep conviction and touching compassion for all of humanity, Rabbi Sacks was also a prolific author who wrote about the things that mattered to him the most: peace, moral philosophy and reverence for family and children. He was rooted in his faith but insistent that his was not the only path. Rabbi Sachs was a true theologian.

Some of you may recall from past articles that my dad was an ordained UCC minister. He, like Rabbi Sacks, was a philosopher. Steeped in ecumenical respect, he believed in humanity and saw faith as less about what you said and more about how you behaved towards others. Like Rabbi Sacks, my dad was a true theologian.

And, like my dad, Rabbi Sacks died this past fall.

I’ve also been thinking about, of all things, “Ted Lasso.” Yeah, the TV show. I know. I mean, we are a nation facing a global pandemic, an economy in crisis and deep cultural divides. It just didn’t seem right to write about a show.

Nevertheless, I really wanted to. This show is so kind, so sweet, so hopeful. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it, but the basic premise is an American football coach and his trusted assistant move to England to coach a premier football (soccer) team – whose owner is actually working to sabotage the team – with various life threads woven through. And, like I said, it is just so lovely.

In one of the later episodes, the main character quotes Walt Whitman: “Be curious, not judgmental.” That struck a chord. Be curious.

This is a concept I struggle to maintain in my own life, with varying degrees of success. I thought I might write about it. First, though, I decided to source the quote and make sure it was accurate. Get this: Not only is the quote accurate, but the very first “hit” was an article about an episode of “Ted Lasso” written by none other than Rabbi Sacks!

In the months following his death, I read Rabbi Sacks’ work on morality. I read his essays on healing a divided culture. Now, I sat and read his thoughts on the show; on how kindness can transform lives – and the world – and how this one show offers up a model of living decently and with compassion. And, once again, it echoed back to my dad, a man who frequently said “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” was perhaps the most religious film he’d ever seen.

What it all boils down to, really, is that in this life of trying and difficult days true faith is all around us, often in the most mundane and ordinary of places, waiting to remind us of our shared humanity and the awesome, transformative power of kindness, of compassion and of curiosity in place of judgment.

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