Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Out of the Woodwork

I don't apologize for my posts or lack of them. This is MY blog and I post when I wanna. So I've been in and out gone almost the entire year; What can I say? It was a big year.

Well now that I'm out of the woodwork, this is exactly what I wanted to blog about.

Two very interesting stories happened to me over the summer.

The first:

My brother was engaged over the summer and while we are all very excited, that has nothing to do with my story except for that it happened the night of the vort.

I needed to be at my parents house to set up early and I had the kids with me so I didn't prepare any supper for my family because we spent the entire day around food.

My husband though, came home from work starving and went out to find himself a slice of pizza. He'd usually go to a local shop a few blocks away from the house but because he needed to do a bank deposit, he drove across town and got into line at a pizza store there.

As he was waiting in line he recognized the person standing a few people in front of him. He was wearing a microscopic yarmulka and had a very closely trimmed beard. He was a very obvious chassidish used-to-be. Not that my husband can tell these things, but my husband remembered when he was in yeshiva together with the guy and he had long peyos that reached his shoulders.

My husband, when he recounted this incident to me later told me that when he saw the guy he literally shuddered remembering how he used to torture him in school. They knew each other as kids, before their bar-mitzvahs, and this boy, who was two years older than my husband, used to make his life hell.

We're talking stealing his lunch, tearing his books, beating him up, the works.

My husband said he remembered that the boy left yeshiva at thirteen and hit the streets and had a rough couple of years on drugs and hanging out with a really bad crowd.

He hadn't heard from him in over 20 years and was surprised to see that he was still around and obviously frum again.

Just for kicks my husband called out the guy's name to see what would happen.

The guy, (let's call him Joel because I'm getting tired of calling him Guy) turned around, saw my husband, and within seconds was hugging and kissing him and crying on his shoulder.

In front of at least 30 people in the store.

My husband was shocked that he recognized him, but Joel kept crying and said he was looking for my husband for over fifteen years to ask him forgiveness.

He didn't want to go into details in public but told my husband he was suffering terribly and he had long ago decided that whatever he was suffering from was because of four boys he had hurt as a kid.

He spent years tracking three of them down and asked them for mechila, but could never get hold of my husband.

He said he read newspapers all the time looking to see if any mazal tov ads were every printed with his name in it and asked around about him.

A few months ago he'd seen an ad in a paper that a man with my husband's name was making a kiddush for a baby girl and he wanted to go but he was afraid that if it really was my husband maybe he wouldn't be so glad to see him.

In any case, he was sobbing in the pizza place that night as my husband told him he forgave him with all his heart and wished him only mazal in his life from that point forward.

My husband walked in to my brother's vort almost two hours late and literally shaking with amazement.

That's the first story.

Now comes the second, not as amazing one.

Two nights ago I couldn't sleep.

This NEVER happens to me, especially since the baby was born.

But that night I drank like two ounces of cola before bed (because normally even coke can't keep me from my sleep) and I was tossing and turning for 45 minutes before getting up and turning on my computer to catch up on some articles and emails I needed to write.

My computer automatically opens my instant messenger program when Windows starts and so as I was working I was also able to see which of my friends were online at the time with me. It was almost one in the morning by then.

Out of the blue, a schoolmate I never IM with popped up on screen to schmooze. Happens to be, she was telling me she met my brother's kallah and she was so sweet etc, but after a few minutes she told me that she really felt stupid but she had to ask me forgiveness.

She said that she was up that night because something was bothering her and when she opened her computer and saw me online it just hit her. She said she remembered that when we were in school together she and a bunch of other classmates were mean and quite cruel to me.

I actually remember it well but got over it. I didn't take it personally then and I haven't thought about those girls in a long time.

She said she can admit it now that they were all just jealous of me, but she still felt awful about it. She even reminded me of two times, two different years when we were put together in the same group for a project and I was the one who did all the work while the other 5 or 6 girls bailed on me. BOTH YEARS.

In the end the entire group got an A+ for my efforts.

I remember it, but like I said, I'm so over it.

Well, she wasn't and wanted to ask forgiveness.

Now, that's all very nice and moving, but something bothers me.

Not that fact that both my husband and I were treated badly in school, but the fact that it took YEARS for these people to ask mechila.

My husband and I are both happy well adjusted people and these incidents were long buried for both of us. Apparently though, other people were suffering and just now decided to seek us out.

That kind of gets me. The coming out of the woodwork now. When it's convenient for them. When they need us. OUR mechila.

Where were they then? When we suffered?

This is not to say I don't forgive my classmate with all my heart, I actually am so impressed and flattered that she remembered this after so much time. But why do people do the kinds of things that hurt other people and then only come back to ask forgiveness when, oh gosh, something goes wrong in their lives.

I dunno, I guess I can't expect us all to be sensitive and loving all the time, but maybe being a little more considerate and watchful isn't too much to ask?

It is chodesh Elul after all. Something to think about?