2022, in Review: In the Middle

For me, 2022 was neither a year of beginnings nor a year of endings. Instead, I bore witness to transitions, other people's beginnings and endings. 

Southern Magnolias on Agnes Scott campus comfort me all year long. Evergreen, they are always in the middle of their season. They sometimes flower twice a year and shed their big, broad leaves, even as they leaf out in winter and summer alike.

At work, I witnessed the growth of our education department, with staff taking on new responsibilities to make way for new people and broader capacity. I witnessed the growth of our department's physical footprint on campus and noted the opportunities and challenges represented by our expanding presence online and across the country. Next year will bring the need for a new graphic designer and new directions in programming and audience strategy. Thematic seeds planting in 2021, with Black + Jewish and Words, Music, Memory, have begun to bear fruit with focused nurturing. This break marks a breath before we begin our next phase. 

Professionally, in the broader field of public history, this year has brought the publication of my first book and the need for work to get it noticed. Next year, I hope to follow its ripples out into the community as writers become readers, and readers engage others in conversation. This year, I also oversaw the sunsetting of the NCPH digital media group and the transition to a new History@Work editorial committee. Disintegration and distribution are part of the lifecycle of ideas and institutions.

At CBH, where I have dedicated much extracurricular time and energy, I stood at the organizational helm of the the Ritual Va'ad as we said goodbye to our interim Rabbi Dayle and welcomed our "settled" Rabbi Mike. We are still learning what holds us together as a community as we look ahead to onboarding a new Music Director. I have navigated intergenerational challenges as a leader, mother, partner, and individual seeker of spiritual sustenance.

And as a mother, this year, I have witnessed the transition of my firstborn from elementary to upper elementary where he is thriving, and am marking the transition of my younger one from primary to elementary, a threshold she is approaching with excitement and trepidation. 

I am transitioning into middle age. I will turn 39 in February. I am learning to live in the middle, in the "liminal place" as Rabbi Dayle so eloquently put it. A strange irony that the steadiest of states for me is a place of observing so many others' transitions. I am the earth that holds others' fire and the water that rises and falls on others' wind. I am becoming acquainted with the wrinkles and silver streaks that will proliferate on my face and in my hair, becoming more and more a part of me. I am passing through a door to the center, where it is quiet, even as the world of my past and future, and everyone else's cares and joys and desires swirls around me like a galaxy. I am comfortable in this place of permanent impermanence.