The Night My Lights Went Out
My wife Ellen and I recently moved from Miami Beach, Florida to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, a quaint and most picturesque town in the Poconos. Yes, I traded heat and humidity for ice and snow, but the leaves are absolutely gorgeous in the fall. Two weeks ago, our power went out, the first time for me in six years. What would I do? No lights, no cellphone, no television and no computer-I was a mess! So, I decided to go to the movies, after all, they must have power. Off I go in my Rav 4 to both local movies, but neither one was open. Now what? Maybe Friendly's would be open, at least I could have ice cream to soothe myself. Nope, they were closed too. So, I did what any red-blooded American boy did in this situation-I went to WalMart! They had flashlights, and I bought three and went home. I put the batteries in, they worked great, and I was happy. But now what? Tried a paperback novel, but I can't read by flashlight, and there was nothing else to do, so, I went to bed.
And all night I couldn't sleep. Here I was, comfortable, finally in my own bed, safe and sound, but all I could do was to think about all those folks who had lost power in the hurricanes and wouldn't have lights or electricity for days and even weeks. Last week many of my close friends in Florida were without these things we take for granted, and it may be a month until everything is reconnected.
Being without, ought to teach us about compassion and about gratitude. We who are fortunate to live lives that are safe, ought to think more about those whose living situations are a bit more complicated. And we ought to think about ways we can help them- money, phone calls, collecting food and clothes, or other support which is necessary. Being without power taught me plenty, I just hope I can remember the lesson.
The Day My Throat Went Out
I am a congregational Rabbi, and that means that I talk a lot. Sometimes my voice goes hoarse on me, and usually I do nothing about it. This happened a month ago, and I decided that perhaps the time had come to see a doctor. To make a long story short, yesterday I had outpatient surgery to remove the polyps on my vocal chords. Probably benign, had a good experience at the hospital, went home to sleep, everything is fine. But the Rabbi can't talk for three days! How awful is that??? Well, actually, not so awful. There are definite advantages to having a forced voice-rest: My wonderful wife gives me lots of Jello and pudding for my throat. Tonight is a Temple Board meeting, I will go but not say a word. A pleasure for me, and for them too. No sermons for me this weekend.
If anybody talks to me, I can pretend I'm a wise man thinking deep thoughts. I get to enjoy the sounds of leaves falling, kids laughing, my car CDs with no people interruption. Best of all, I have uninterrupted time to compose this article!
If I can't talk, I ought to be thinking not just about myself, but about all those in our world who also can't “talk, " whose voices are silenced by the world they live in. Think of Muslim women who are silenced by their society; think of abused women and children who are beaten by their so-called “loved ones;" think of those hungry for food and fellowship; think of the hurricane displaced, not knowing where they will be living tomorrow or next week. I will regain my voice in two or three days, will they? How will they? Will we help them, and how best to do that? When all God's children regain the use of their voice, the world will be reborn, erupting in sounds of freedom and acceptance by all. What a great day that will be. Until then, our task is not to be silent.
Dr. Mel Glazer is a Grief Recovery Specialist working in private practice with grievers all across America. You can visit his website at http://www.yourgriefmatters.com Dr. Glazer has served as a Rabbi, Author, and Speaker for over thirty years, and he is a pioneer in the art of using our life-losses to help us learn life-lessons. We only discover what is truly important about ourselves by how we respond to the losses in our lives, and so each loss becomes our cherished teacher. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the loss of a pet, divorce, serious illness, financial distress or the end of a serious relationship. His upcoming book, And God Created Hope: How Our Favorite Bible Stories Lead Us From Mourning To Morning (2006), follows in the footsteps of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in the importance of accepting the reality of death and loss, and being able to move to a life filled with hope and joy. He and his wife reside in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.