Thank Your Neighbor As You Thank Yourself

Posted on November 23, 2006

Yesterday I was in tears. I felt let down by my community. I was >< this close to sending an e-mail to my rabbi with links to a few of the support-related posts below and the single line of, "What do you think? Do we need to talk?"

Two days ago, a local Jewish school, where the illustrator of Like a Maccabee teaches, decided at the last minute to cancel the plan (which they’d initiated) to offer copies of the book for sale to grandparents and other “special people” on Grandparents’/Special Person’s Day. The illustrator felt let down and unsupported by the school. I didn’t blame her.

Last night, I felt hopeless. If I can’t count on my family/shul community to celebrate with me on a joyous occasion (the publication of this book), then what happens when – G-d forbid – I need to rely on them for a sad occasion? There’s a mountain of hurt here, including one friend having to recruit folks from the congregation to call me when I was on bedrest during my first pregnancy, and the fact that we couldn’t even get a minyan together when I returned home after my father’s (alav hashalom) funeral. Every letdown brings the hurt back up and magnifies it that much more.

Today I’d rather focus on the jewels in my life. I have some amazing friends. Some are Jewish, some are not. And for whatever reason, I’ve seen many of them in person just this past week. It’s easy for us to support each other, to ask each other, “How are you really? What can I do to help?” Their happiness means a lot to me.

I know some awesome people here in the blogosphere, too. Folks I have never met in person, but who have been generous enough to invite me into their thoughts and dreams and struggles. They challenge my perceptions and expand my understanding of the world, and I’m thankful to them for that.

I have a husband who is supportive in all the right ways without ever being patronizing. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

I have a renewed relationship with my extended family, something I was unsure would ever happen. I’m thankful for reconciliation.

And I have two children who remind me daily that there is joy in watching a worm crawl through the soil, contentment in a hug, and it really is possible to interpret Torah through the lens of The Lion King.

Now, we’re off to another friend’s home for Thanksgiving. It was an unexpected invitation: “Please come for Thanksgiving because we’re thankful for your friendship.” Wow. That alone was a gift.

Now, I’m celebrating Thanksgiving feeling very thankful to be Jewish, thankful to have a path to follow where the tangents are many but the parameters are clear. Where I’ve learned who I am and what that means. And where I’ve learned that it’s all about the connections we make (and especially That Connection with the Holy) and not nearly as much about the pain when those connections are absent.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers. And thank you to everyone.

1 Comment

  1. Jack Steiner

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

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