I had an appointment with my rabbi for this week. I arranged for child care so I could meet with him uninterrupted. I was nervous, but as I wrote earlier, I am jaded when it comes to appointments with the rabbi. I usually don’t expect it will actually happen until it’s already underway, and even then I expect it to be interrupted by something.
And so it has happened again.
It’s not anyone’s fault. A funeral had to be scheduled and that takes precedence. He told me he needed to reschedule but gave no indication of when that might take place. I guess I will wait until a day or so after the funeral and contact him again. After the second rescheduling is historically when I have given up.
I understand–more than many readers may think–that this is how it is. There are life cycle events that fall under a narrow time contstraint. Babies are born and if a boy, the bris is set. Sadly, people die and the funeral cannot wait, nor should it.
At the same time, it is one more rescheduling that makes me wonder if we will get to meet at all before he is too busy with the Yamim Nora’im and before my own depression cycle starts again.
This should not further wound the trust I have that he will follow through, yet it does. If it were only the occasional disappointment, it would be easier to take, but it is not. It happens almost every single time.
I know it is not me. I have talked to others who have difficulty getting in to see him. One woman joked that he is improving and now keeps a full third of the appointments he schedules. So I don’t take it personally. Yet it’s still a disappointment. Each rescheduling, especially when I have to fight for it, makes it harder the next time I need to reach out.
Jack: thank you. It’s so easy to find ways to invalidate myself, that if there’s a good reason, I have no right to feel unhappy. It’s certainly not like it was intentional. I guess it’s the pattern that is more upsetting, and at the same time I know that comes with his job.
Rabbi WAC: I think I may write that down. I have used scripting for phone calls that I knew might tongue-tie me, and this might be one of them. It’s very helpful, thank you.
I certainly have my share of rescheduling needs. Just yesterday I attended a 1 PM levaya and thought I would have no problem making a 3 PM appointment, only to discover that there were 8 (eight!) eulogies, so that I couldn’t make it for my 3 PM. (I was not the officiant; I would never allow 8 hespedim.)
Perhaps, though, when he calls and says he needs to re-schedule, you could reply with something along the lines of, “I’m very sorry to hear it, and of course I understand. I really need to talk to you soon, though; could we re-schedule for _______?” That way, the re-scheduling is more immediate.
It is fair to be disappointed and upset by this. Even if it is a reasonable excuse (and it is) there is nothing wrong being upset that you have to reschedule.