Dara LevanBlog8 Comments

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

How do you measure, measure a year?

Jonathan D. Larson wrote these powerful, poignant lyrics. Each word resonated with me the moment I read them. “Seasons of Love,” which became a fan favorite from the 1996 musical, Rent, still stirs my soul. This song became especially personal for me the day of our engagement party.

Dear friends creatively modified the song to describe our love and relationship. They surprised us with a heartfelt, humorous performance. I remember my fiance and I crying with laughter and love. My son’s bar mitzvah was in April 2015. We played this song as we asked these same friends, 16 years later, to come forward and join us. We honored them and their ongoing, significant presence in our lives.

Larson’s timeless, touching lyrics continue:

In daylights, in sunsets

In midnights, in cups of coffee

In inches, in miles

In laughter, in strife

In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

How do you measure a year in the life

How about love?

How about love?

How about love?

Measure in love

Seasons of love

Seasons of love

Last night, my college roommate’s daughter became a bat mitzvah. This occurs when a child is 13, reads from the Torah, and is spiritually recognized as a man or woman in the eyes of G-d.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Journeys to plan

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

How do you measure the life

Of a woman or a man?

As people gathered in the synagogue, I hugged and greeted each family and friend who represented the past, present and future. Even before the service began, my heart overflowed with gratitude for my dear friend Lynn and her family. I’ve known many of these incredible souls for three decades. The cantor began to sing as individuals settled into their seats.

Emma stood at the podium with poise and pure delight. Her sweet smile beamed into the hearts of those in front of her. She sang, read, and lit up the room like the blue braided candle that cast a glow on her family’s proud faces.

During one of my favorite Hebrew songs, L’dor V’dor (“From Generation to Generation”), I looked at my own daughter, who’d just two months before become a bat mitzvah. (She’d finally summoned the courage to sing a solo publicly, and this was the song she chose to perform.) My daughter connected with me from across the room and smiled as our eyes met. I became a keen observer, “like a fly on the wall,” as Lynn always says.

While the cantor sang, pictures of great grandparents, grandparents, parents and finally Emma softly appeared on two large screens. Black and white photos of my best friend’s family told the story of their lives. The images of ancestors linked the past to the present and took my breath away. Tears streamed down my face as memories washed over me.

Then Lynn and Jon referenced “Seasons of Love” when they spoke to Emma:

It’s time now to sing out

Tho’ the story never ends

Let’s celebrate

Remember a year in the life of friends

After the service, we all headed to a nearby room. Festive, vibrant flowers adorned each table. We danced and delighted as we all celebrated Em. She glistened and sparkled with each passing minute. Em was so present, so effervescent, so genuinely elated. I was beyond grateful to witness and rejoice with this teen who I’d held as an infant and now watched as she matured into a young woman.

I thought about those who surrounded Em last night. Her parents, grandparents, cousins, and everyone there loved her unconditionally and with steadfast, supportive energy. I watched our daughters embrace and giggle. Who knew that when Lynn and I met at our university we’d return to South Florida and our children would become friends? My heart expanded with gratitude. I took mental snapshots and compiled a scrapbook in my mind. I didn’t want to forget one second of the night.

I’ve attended and participated in many mitzvahs, weddings, christenings, baptisms and other life celebrations. I am grateful for each unique milestone. I am grateful for the years of loving, authentic friendships that surrounded all of us last night. We’ve been there for each other for weddings, births, deaths, and now the next generation is connecting as the souls that came before us.

As Larson wrote, “Remember the love…measure your life in love…”  You can’t touch love or taste it. You feel it. You witness it. You give and receive it. The love that infused each of us last night will last forever, just as I know our friendships will. There are friends for a season, friends for a reason, and friends for a lifetime. And there are friends who are for all seasons. I know my college roommates, as well as others I embraced last night, are friends who’ve become family. And their presence in my life is a lifelong season of love.


8 Comments on “SEASONS OF LOVE”

  1. Dara: I reacted emotionally to this on Sunday night. I guess I did something wrong in posting it.
    So here goes… Your Love-timing is always exquisitely on time – whether it’s that surreptitious hand clasp or the spontaneous hug – for no apparent reason – I just give thanks for the gift of you and for this blog.

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