Let the life and death of Ginsburg give us pause to study our own lives. How many of your idols are still around? And, how many did you witness their deaths in your life time. The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week will be one of those icons that you will remember for the rest of your life.
You can find lists of her significant achievements, from her school days to her final days as a U. S. Supreme Court Justice, through dozens of news organizations. This article is In Remembrance of the “Notorious RBG,” with emotional, insightful, personal comments from Lyons locals.
On short notice, Connie Sullivan and Jocelyn Farrell put together a Vigil for locals to have common space to honor Ginsburg in Sandstone Park at 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 20. Thirty-five people attended.
Local singer/song-writer Shauna Lee was asked to be in charge of the sound and music. She searched her heart and mind and decided that the most appropriate songs were two that she had written for dearly deceased persons in her life.
The significance of Ginsburg’s passing away on this particular time in September was highlighted by two locals. Hollie Rogin spoke about the Jewish new year, and Sara Hart wrote about the Autumn Equinox.
Pastor Sam Tallent, Higher Ministry, was the Vigil closing speaker. He said that he had been following the career of Ginsburg during her whole public life. He observed that she benefited from a supportive husband, and her Jewish faith impacted her life. He quoted lines from a Greek play that she had framed on her wall. (Editor’s Note: I have asked all participants who were on stage at this Vigil to submit their “tributes” in writing to share with readers; we will post them at a later date, if received)
Excerpts from Hollie Rogin’s eulogy ~ Rosh Hashana September 18-20 and Yom Kippur September 27-28
It’s said that people who die on Rosh Hashana are so precious to, and necessary in this world, that God waits until the last possible moment to take them from us.
Rosh Hashana is the Jewish new year… It’s also the beginning of what we call the Days of Awe, the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and the day of atonement, Yom Kippur, when our fate for the year is sealed. During these 10 days, we reflect on the previous year. We call ourselves to account. Were we kind? Were we honest? Did we fulfill our obligations? Did we work to repair the world, as the Torah tells us to?
The Torah says: Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof.
This means: Justice, justice, you shall pursue.
Justice Ginsburg dedicated her life to that very thing, for the benefit of every single person in this country. She worked to repair the world.
With her passing, we are poorer but for the fact that we can choose to carry on her good work… to pursue justice at every opportunity.
May Justice Ginsburg’s memory be a blessing. May it also be a revolution.
On Rosh Hashana, we listen to the shofar, the ram’s horn. It is a wake-up call to be accountable to ourselves, to each other, and to God. Let Justice Ginsburg’s death be our wake-up call to recommit ourselves to creating a just world, today and always.
Excerpts from Sara Hart’s article on the Autumn Equinox, September 22, 2020
The late summer is a time described in Classical Chinese medicine as a phase of ripening and rotting. It is the completion of the spring and summer’s growth cycle. Now we see what has flourished from all the effort and what has not. We discover what was successful from the past season that we can harvest to support our self until a new cycle begins. Traditions around the world honor this time of year as a pause to acknowledge the accomplishments and to appreciate what has been working well for us. It is also a time to look closely at what has not been working well and make decisions of what to let go.
Harvest what you need: Relinquish what you don’t. Gather your allies, your forces and your medicine. The journey ahead is long and the nights are cold. What will you harvest to rely on this winter? What will you let go?
Do what you will with this one wild and precious life: Death is inevitably the only certainty in life. Autumn reminds us about letting go and accepting change. Many lives will follow this time of nature’s release to exit this realm and pass into the unknown as is the nature of seasonal change. What will you do to make the most of the time you have?
Discover symbiosis: Our living enhances other beings living. How can we live our life to mutually support all life around us?
Shauna Lee (songwriter/singer) lyrics:
“Carry You” ~~ “When your sun is blocked and you’re trapped inside a cloud, raise your hand and I will pull you out. When your tears are falling like stars in the night, I’ll open my arms and I will hold you tight… I’m gonna carry you through the darkness, through the loneliness. When your head is weary, come rest it on me. I’ll be your sky, wrap you up in blue- I’ll do anything you need me to…”
I wrote this song after losing my Godmother to a brutal fight with cancer. She was a force in my life. RBG was a mighty, tiny piece of intense work and focus.
“Walking” ~~ “Sweet angel where did you, slipping so far away from me. I’m a worn soul without you here, a lonely heart with brittle tears. It’s not that I can’t live without you. It’s not that I can’t go on. But, I stumble when I walk, studded when I talk and the colors aren’t so bright. You know, I walk better when you’re walking by my side.”
This one I wrote to exemplify the absolute necessity for our need to be vulnerable to one another, not live as an island…to be open to walk alongside and acknowledge the need of another. RBG was for women, but truly she was for equal rights for those who weren’t being represented that way from the beginnings of our country. She ushered in rights for women, yes, but also for the handicapped, all sexual orientations, and even men.
People in town have been sharing with friends and on Facebook how Ginsburg affected their lives. Here are two of them:
“The passing of the great RBG is devastating,” said Chris Lause, Lyons lawyer. “We’ve lost a pioneer, an icon, a champion. As a retired attorney, I guess over time it would be natural for me to build up a certain degree of cynicism about heroes – but I feel no cynicism about Justice Ginsberg. She was one of a kind, an incredibly brave and gifted advocate and jurist, and an American hero. RIP RGB.”
“She was a big role model in my life,” said Olivia Cope, a 2020 Lyons High School graduate, who has gone off to college this fall. “She was the reason I went into political science as a major. She was amazing and shaped my rights as women. If I could live half as inspirational a life, I would be so proud.”
There were three days of public mourning for Justice Ginsburg, a champion of equality and women’s rights. On Wednesday, September 23. Ginsburg was laid in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court building for two days. Then she laid in state in the U.S. Capital building, being the first woman and first Jewish person to be so honored in U.S. history.
How can you carry on her legacy? You don’t have to go to court and change a law; you can attend marches, or write letters, or join grassroots groups. Consider taking some time this week to sit in a quiet place and either meditate or journal about how you can follow in the footsteps of this trailblazer.
What troubling component in this world is it that personally touches your life and/or of your loved ones? Is it housing, equality, LGBT rights, education, wellness…? Choose one. Set yourself a goal, first something for this year, then for the decade, and then for a lifetime. Our lives can be overwhelming, and we are bombarded daily with important issues. Concentrate on one issue. Write it down, and put it somewhere visible. Tape it to your mirror. Put it next to a candle. Make a collage with your kids and frame it. Plant a flowering bush. Tell your friends; share and remind each other periodically.
It may help you to choose a slogan, or make one up of your own. People yell them in the streets during marches, which invigorates the crowd and the cause.
“Tikkun olam” is a concept in Judaism, often interpreted as aspiration to behave and act constructively and beneficially, or “world repair.” ~~ “Beauty will save the world” Fyodor Dostoyevsky ~~ “Imagine all the people Livin’ for today” John Lennon ~~ “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.” Gandhi ~~ “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr.