Vail Daily column: All that is sacred |

Vail Daily column: All that is sacred

Benjamin A. Gochberg
Valley Voices

We give a few gifts and have a few laughs. A few of you, like me, might just get a couple extra hours of free time to rest our minds and our hearts, and that might be enough to make us grateful beyond words. There are lights and music, drinks and great food. The symbols of the season surround us, but beneath it all is something much greater than the consumerism and shallow pleasures of our times. I’m forced to reflect on what might be truly holy and sacred to me, and I suppose I hope each of us takes the time to do the same.

The snow falling among the smoking chimneys of the towns I’ve lived in are sacred to me. There were times as a child that I did not understand how truly beautiful our world can be. Recognizing that beauty in all of its diverse forms has changed how I live.

The sounds of a choir are sacred, as a hymn bounces back from the vaulted ceilings of the churches and cathedrals. Regardless of how my own spirituality and world view has changed, I feel something bigger than myself when I hear a choir. Call it nostalgia or the presence of something spiritual, it reminds me to be open to feeling.

I love to see the porch lights on as I pull into the drive of the houses of family and friends. The relationships that have lasted, and know me as that same awkward kid who somehow survived high school — those relationships are sacred.

I think about the simple pleasures of the child that looks forward to Christmas morning still, and try to recapture that old feeling myself. Now, I see that the sincere love of family and friends is far more sacred than anything that can be wrapped and placed under the tree. The moment when something I have given to another becomes truly special to them — that’s sacred.

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We live in a time when the lives of men and women are not lost as often physically as mentally and spiritually. The great wars of our time, at least for most of us, will take place on the sacred ground of the mind and heart. Knowing that each of us can direct our lives and can define our purpose — this is sacred. I pray we recognize how our definitions of self will change who we are and what we can accomplish.

I still consider promises and handshakes sacred. Whether as a banker or as a human being, doing what we say we will do when we have said we’ll do it. The trust formed between men and women that live like this every day in business and in their personal lives — this is sacred. I’m happy to know a few of them.

I believe that the moment in which great motivation and purpose combine with great action and tactics is truly sacred. There are groups of citizens here in our valley that align their thinking and their actions to change our home for the better. I’m grateful to them and consider their combined efforts to be sacred. I pray that all of us will have the courage to see the big picture in all we do. We can make choices that will permanently improve our individual lives, our families, our communities, our country and eventually the world.

A powder day on the hill — sacred — so, so sacred — more especially so when I can ski by myself in silence and allow the hill to unroll before me. The sun comes out and makes it hard to see when I step indoors. There are only a few other places in which I believe we might be able to find a closer connection to the universe.

We’re not just trees in a large forest — no — we’re flakes of snow falling and swirling on the great mountain of humanity. Though we be small, each one of us matters. We have a role to play in this great story that is unfolding before us. As I ride upon the higher places of the earth, I’m reminded that you and I, all of us, this whole experience, no matter what happens or how it all plays out — it’s something special. As I sit back and let the sigh of that realization escape my lips, I recognize that life in all of its pleasures and pains, in its horror and beauty, it is deeply and immeasurably sacred.

Ben Gochberg is a commercial lender and business finance consultant. He plays, lives, works and is trying to do a little good in Eagle County. He can be reached for business inquiries or free consultation at 970-471-3546.

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