There’s one line that always has me gasp in recognition. In the excerpt from “Snake Talk” from the Traveling Jewish Theater the author details the many difficulties of one day: “The ground opens up, the wind blows, a branch hits you in the head, you trip on stones, you twist your ankle, your heart breaks, you’ve got to fold the laundry and they have closed the two left lanes…”
It’s been that kind of day. My version goes, “Mom goes into hospital 2000 miles away, having fallen twice in the past week of her 80th birthday, brother and family who live near my mom leave for a week-long trip out of the country, other brother in another state falls and breaks a rib, I receive the horrible news of a young man, son of a dear teacher, who is entering hospice due to his aggressive rare cancer and oh yeah, I have bronchitis. I cancel the much-awaited evening with friends from Germany we haven’t seen forever and all my classes. That’s the brief version. As my teacher Rabbi Nancy Flam says, “It’s hard to be a person…”
On the other hand, a dear friend from 7th grade drops everything and immediately rushes to meet the ambulance so my mom won’t be alone in the emergency room and my dear first cousin, more like a sister to me, rearranges her day so she can go be with my mom. And my doctor in LA fits miraculously fits me in to the schedule right away me. Plus, another old and special friend checks on me the whole day. I AM GRATEFUL.
And my husband. For him, it’s another day of interruptions, but he takes me to the doctor, goes to stand in line for hours to get the prescriptions, and becomes my voice on the phone calls because it’s painful to talk. I AM GRATEFUL.
And, with the email about the friend’s son’s impending end, comes the gift of a chant specially written for him that we can all sing and pray from wherever we are, in support of him and his family.
The Traveling Jewish theater’s piece goes on to say that in the face of the cascade, you must master the one move of “fall down/get up.”
For me, this looks like: remember to breathe, appreciating every little bit of kindness, remind myself that “this too shall pass” and try to do the best I can in each and every moment. I try to remember to unclench my fists, keep my heart open, and not look for blame. Not all things can I “power through” to solution.