Just days ago millions of people’s lives across the country were impacted by severe unrelenting weather in the form of snowstorms, torrential rains, hurricane force winds and tornadoes. Many, including myself, found themselves at strange airports, waiting endlessly for information about their delayed flights. If and when they would take off, could they get back to work or home to the families waiting for them?
Many of us literally ended up going nowhere. We lost time.
Thousands of people who had not traveled experienced other aggravations due to considerable property damage. Roofs were torn off homes, basements flooded, electricity cut off, cars wrecked, etc. All no doubt have been hit hard financially. Those people lost money.
Most of us were angry, frustrated, annoyed, miserable and scared. We felt victimized. We felt sorry for ourselves.
It’s a sad fact of life that other people’s tragedies are often the only way we gain true perspective. It’s the only way we get the very sobering wakeup call that we have let ourselves be stressed by relatively minor events and situations. That we have no business to “sweat the small stuff.”
I write this as I hear the news of the massacre of students on a Virginia campus.
The previous day’s coverage of the bad weather -that deservedly received much media attention due to its severity and life-threatening nature – pales in comparison to this day’s news.
How minor and irrelevant lost time and lost money is when viewed in the context of lost lives. Especially if those lives were stolen by blind, unyielding hatred, as has happened all too frequently in Israel.
With Yom HaZikaron – Israel’s Memorial Day approaching, I dedicate the following poem to those n’shei chayil, murdered by terrorists, who lost their lives al kiddush Hashem by living in Eretz Yisrael - and to the soul mates who courageously survive them.
It’s been several years since you were taken away,
But the pain still sears me as if it were yesterday,
I know you’d insist that I get on with my life,
That I stop grieving, and get another wife.
But I’m doing all right, as best as I’m able,
Being Abba and Ema and keeping the family stable,
My job, and our children, keep me too busy from thinking
It’s mostly on Shabbat that I feel myself sinking.
For as I make Kiddush and glance at your chair,
It hits me like a fist – you’ll never ever sit there,
Never again will I enjoy the feast you worked hard to prepare,
Nor see your proud smile, as the kids say their Divrei Torah,
It was you who truly created our festive Shabbat aura.
We are often invited out – but I’m not yet in the mood,
So we eat our meals at home – I buy prepared food.
That was to be the last time,that you’d return no more.
I try in vain to remember if I said goodbye to you that day,
How could I know blind hatred was going to take you away?
You were murdered by a youngster raised on jealousy and hate,
Fed a diet of violence that only bloodshed could sate.
His handlers watched in safety – they themselves don’t care to die,
As their pawn – so disposable – blew himself to the sky.
And he took you with him. He stole away your life.
He stole my children’s mother. He stole away my wife.
He aborted our happy future, shared moments that will never be,
Leaving despair and emptiness, a shattered family.
I know you’ll be upset if I don’t move on.
I know I have to accept that that you are truly gone.
I promise, that I’ll work on letting go of my sorrow,
But I can’t, not todayI’ll try again, tomorrow.