This week my community, part of my soul family, experienced great loss. Dr. Mayer, who was our superintendent but also our friend, our leader, and our mentor, died in a tragic accident. We feel sorrow, and disbelief, and tremendous gratitude to have known him at all.
Dr. Mayer and I did not practice the same religion. I am Jewish, and he follows the teachings of Christ. However that never seemed to matter, because Dr. Mayer believed that everyone's story was worthy.
The morning of his memorial service, I was setting up my home for the first Passover Seder. As I placed the tablecloth on my table, I was brought back to a time a few years ago when I bumped into Dr. Mayer in the halls of my school just a few days before Passover. As he greeted me with a smile and a hug, he asked what I would be doing for Passover this year. I told him that we were having Seder at our home as usual but before I could do anything I would have to go purchase a new tablecloth, as ours had a big wine stain on it from the previous year. Dr. Mayer asked why I would do that, as the wine stain was a reminder of the good times that we had. I thought about that, probably laughed it off, and went on my way.
The tablecloth still holds that wine stain, and I never replaced it. I often thought about replacing the tablecloth, but something about what Dr. Mayer said to me rang true. Just because something is a little worn, or a little stained doesn't mean it loses its worth, but rather the opposite. That wine stain is a reminder of the times I have had with my family and the love we share around our holiday table. This Passover the tablecloth holds the memories of my family helping me with the Seder, my oldest daughter finally committing to the college of her choice, laughing and loving, making new friends, and watching my sons and nephews turn from boys into young men. And now it also holds the reminder of my friendship with a good man, a man whose lessons I will hold dear to my heart.