Monday, October 29, 2007

Be Right With You!

I'm so sorry for keeping my readers waiting, but Boruch Hashem we're busy busy busy on this side of the world.

We've had some simchas and lots of nachas from JB (he learned to flush the toilet himself!!) and lots of pressure and work and everyday life taking up most of my time.

I have at least three posts waiting to go up and in the drafting stage but I'm kinda still too busy to really get them posted.

I want to thank the readers who emailed and contributed to the posts I plan on putting up soon and if anyone else would like for me to write about something specific- please let me know!

Just forgive me for being so slow. I have a life (or try to) outside of this blog!

Be right with you!

Monday, October 15, 2007

An Ocean Away

I have a friend who was just recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's, just like what I had. We were talking and she was venting as I was reminiscing and we ended up talking about our friends and how they reacted to our illness.

Both myself and my friend are into chessed and we totally appreciate those people who want to be there for others and do all they can to help out. The problem is that most people don't know how to help out.

The desire is there, but the methods are completely wrong.

To go into what people would need to do to shape up is pretty much a repeat of what I've been posting my entire blog-

-Don't pretend you're best friends with the person if you didn't know her name before last week

-Don't come over uninvited or push offers on the people you never had anything to do with before

-Don't call and leave a zillion messages for the choleh- chances are she heard the first one and will either call you back when she feels like it or never...

-Don't become best friends with their sisters just to say that you have a CLOSE relationship to the family...

There are so many Don'ts running through my head right now but the more I write the more ridiculous they all sound. But the problem is that these Don'ts happen all the time.

Why is it that my friend is so glad that her friends are all married and live in Lakewood or Israel or really far away, and that they can't come over and bug her even if they wanted to?

My friend knows that these girls who call 100 times a night only want to do chessed, but yet, the way they go about it is enough to make her glad that some of them are an ocean away.

We both feel that it's so sad.

There are people out there who really do want to do good- they just don't know how.

My friend was saying that she would love to tell them how, but some people just don't want to listen. I think that's worse than anything.

Being mevaker choleh is to do what's good for the patient. If she's trying to tell you what's good for her, but you decide you know better, what good is that?

I hated to tell her that she'd probably come out of this illness thinking very differently about some people she'd never had an opinion about before. Instead of leaving well enough alone, I find that some people insist on putting themselves out there and making things so annoying and bothersome for the patient.

A simple card would say so much without all the bother.

I'm not trying to be negative. Not at all. I have friends and students who are always telling me that they want to volunteer for chessed programs and things, and I think that is so beautiful. I just wish more people would know what it's like from the other point of view, from the side receiving the chessed.

I have to commend the people I've met who really took the time to understand and listen to what the patent's needs really were, they were able to read between the lines and weren't the girls that my mother had to lie to and say that I was sleeping, or on the other line, or overnight in the hospital, or that I was in Florida for the month... in order for them to stop calling.

It's really hard for one to know the rules of the game and where to toe the line, but I think that with a little more sensitivity and a little less excitement to do what THEY feel is the RIGHT thing, we'd all be much better off.

And for the girl that I was supposed to "break up the night with" -This post is for you!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Why Bother?

I have a friend who was sick at about the same time that I was. She reads this blog every so often and said she didn't mind if I put her incident up on here.

Towards the end of her treatments, the doctors found another small tumor that they weren't sure what to do with. My friend and her family were scared stiff until she finally heard that all she would need was a small minimally invasive surgery to get it all out and never hear about it again.

Her only side effect would be some minor discomfort- which we have already established, means severe pain for three or four days. It was no big deal after all she'd been through over the past year, but like anyone, she and her family were nervous, scared, and worried before the big day.

A day before her surgery, she met the mother of a fellow patient in a shop and as things go between cancer patients/affiliates, they began talking about how she was doing and how this lady's daughter was.

The woman asked how things were and my friend told her that things were so/so and that all she could do was daven and have emunah and trust that everything would be okay.

The lady asked my friend why she bothered.

My friend was shocked. Obviously, so am I, which is why this is going up on my blog.


I can only believe that this woman's daughter was very ill and she felt so lost and had no direction and felt too hopeless to give her hopes to a greater power. I feel sorry if that is the case.

But why bother?!

Tefilla has been our connection to Hashem all through the ages! Even if not text-book davening, but just a short phrase of "Thank you", a bracha, an "oh please G-d, don't do this to me!" We pray all the time.

I remember a sixth grade teacher once opened her Chumash to the right page without trying. She just held the book loosely in her hands and it fell open to the posuk we were learning that day.

She looked up and said clearly, "Thank you Hashem!"

We were all laughing at her until she explained to us that if we can beg Hashem for good things, why can't we thank him? Even for the little things. It was a chessed to her that her page was the right one and that she didn't have to flip around until she found it.

That really hit home. Since then Hashem has always seemed approachable. Like I was allowed to talk to him and say please and thank you and it didn't have to be from the siddur. It could be from me.

When I was sick, I didn't have the strength to daven each day, but I always felt like I could ask for whatever I needed and say thank you too. Hashem was with me always. Even when I had my hard times in the beginning of that year, I still felt that He was there.

When I was sick, I appreciated so much the people who had me in mind during their tefillos. It meant to world to know that my name was being said and given over to a higher power. My recovery wasn't up to ME , it was up to HIM.

It was a nice feeling to leave someone else in charge. I worried- of course I did. But I also knew that I could ask and that He would listen.

My friend was shocked at this lady's response. Why bother???

Why bother?? Because Hashem WANTS you to bother! He wants to hear from you! He might not give you everything you want, but he wants you to bother otherwise he'd make life so good, you'd never need to bother.

And if you don't bother davening, what is it that you rely on? Who can you lean on when you cant' stand alone? It must be such a lonely feeling to think that there is no one out there who will listen when you call. And such a bad feeling to think that when you do call it wont be heard. So why bother?

You know what? Who knows? Who knows what His cheshbonos are? I don't. But I do know that when I bother, it gives me something to lean on and strength to go on.

It's like that poem I wrote in an earlier post- He's holding my Hand. That's exactly why I bother. Because I might not know where He's taking me, but I know that when I bother to hold his hand and believe that he'll lead me right- like a father to a child, life becomes so much more worth living.

That's why we bother.