Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
Judaism encourages the concept of gratitude. A Jew is directed to thank G-d for all. There is a blessing to be said upon hearing good news and a blessing to be said when the news is bad. There is a blessing upon seeing exceptional beauty and a blessing to be said when viewing a disaster. There are blessings for weddings and blessings for funerals.
It is impossible to feel the fullness of existence without experiencing both the yin and the yang. Viewing the good and the bad brings clarity. Those who have tasted the bitter can really enjoy the sweet. Perhaps that is why we say, gam zu l’tovah, this, too, is for the good.
One would hope that the difficult parts of life are not just random glitches, but incredible occasions to strengthen our souls with understanding and introspection. My recent surgery and hospitalization have given me that opportunity.
It is all too easy to get caught up in the times. Recent events have really shaken some of the basic premises of American existence. The economy is a mess. The politics are frightening. We live in a very troubling and dangerous period.
In the back of our minds we know that we have much to be grateful for. In the forefront of our thoughts are our grievances and distress. We all need a time-out to clear our minds and rethink our priorities. Dealing with medical issues affords this opportunity in a very unique way.
It is impossible to be wheeled into an operating room, attached to tubes and machines and fail to understand that the human condition is fragile and tentative. It is unlikely that one who is hanging out of a flimsy and embarrassing hospital gown could still maintain any semblance of an inflated ego.
I am grateful to be home and I am grateful that everything went well. I am grateful for the kindness and prayers of my family and friends. Gam zu l’tovah.
About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.
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