Being There For Others

Not a fun morning, but definitely a worthy one. One with a mission.

This week alone, I went to pay 2 shiva visits (that means visiting someone who is mourning the loss of an immediate relative). A father and a wife have now moved on to the next world, leaving behind worlds that are shattering but with promise to heal. I heard about 2 car accidents of different friends that have left them injured and broken with a definite amount of financial loss heading their way.A conversation that alerted me to yet another neighbor diagnosed with the big “C” and a few emails about prayers needed for sick children along with a close  friend with a worrisome lump… heavy, too heavy to wake up to.

After a few minutes of  introspection about what lies ahead, my life, busy as it is, sure looks a lot better than some others right about  now. But I feel their pain and it is no surprise that my inner voice is not my own. It’s Stella’s voice. Creepy? Not for me, it’s so comforting. I miss Stella just like every other friend, but for some subconscious reason, whenever I feel my community’s pain, it is her voice I hear telling me what the right thing to do is. It may sound weird…reading this over, I even think it’s a bit wild. But that’s the plain truth. So today, I have a plan. A mission to go out of my natural comfort zone…a thing I end up doing when my emotions take over, and I am happy this happens to me. My natural instinct is to say “yes” whenever someone asks me to do something. (Admittedly to my detriment  sometimes). But I can’t help it. When someone asks, my heartstrings pull towards that sense of nurture that is part of who I am. Then there is the voice of reason and action. It calls to me when there is someone who needs something. Today, I have a plan on how to appease this voice. Sure, it may be slightly awkward, sure it may take up an entire lunch break – but to maybe have a the opportunity to put a smile on someone else’s face? Or to hold their hand and let them know that there are people whom they can count on for support? That would be worth it.

Today started with such a heaviness, and when that one tear fell, I knew in my heart that there was more we could be doing. More praying, more paying attention to others, more listening, more caring. hugs

We must work harder at being kinder and  being better than we were yesterday.

Naturally we can’t be there for our friends all the time. We ALL have busy lives and must tend to our own before helping others, but I often think: what kind of example am I for my daughters? For my sons? I want them to see that even though I could be doing A, B, and C, I chose D, E, and F because it meant that I wasn’t the center of my life. It meant that I put others before me, and I know it’s not an easy task for some. I’ve been in that other place many times. When I just wanted to do what I wanted to do, and not have others influence me for bad or good, but it’s not the person I strive to be.  I would like for my children and cherished loved ones to choose people in their lives who always want to be on the giving end, as well as be able to acknowledge and accept humbly when its our turn to receive.

Only one tear today, which for me is a big deal. Today, I’m listening to the voice of action and will be there for someone else, if only even for just a few minutes. Perhaps you can too.

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5 comments

  1. Beautiful post Cheri. The thing we must all remember is that we must give to ourselves and our families as well as to others. We cannot take of others unless we take care of ourselves first. Really well done.

    1. While we must take care of ourselves and our families, the important message Cheri is giving over is to do for others in spite of ourselves. Chesed and helping your fellow Jew often means you have to move out of your comfort zone, but that’s the test we are being given. Cheri’s choice of D, E and F meant that she wasn’t the center of her life, something which most of us forget. Thanks for sharing this great piece!

  2. Hi Cheri,

    I love your deep thoughts here! As someone who had a career in the non-profit sector working for the greater good and now is on the other side due to my health, it really touched me. I lost all of my friends when I got sick in my late 20s and never had a caring family, but I can tell you that it’s possible to find a balance and take care of yourself and others. I still do it everyday, even if it’s just sending a simple e-mail to a fellow sick (cyber) friend to check in on them and provide some valuable medical info or whatnot. We’re only capable of so much, no matter what our health status is, but as mentioned above, as Jews we are commanded to help others–but I don’t believe that means neglecting ourselves (or families) in the process. It’s like the ol’ oxygen mask analogy; if you can’t breathe, how can you help anyone else?

    Take care and I think it’s Fri. evening there, so Good Shabbos…
    A

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