Monday, December 27, 2010

Footsteps in the Snow

When I walked out of my apartment this morning, it was into a winter wonderland (excuse the cliché). The snow was around two feet deep and basically untouched. It was the beautiful white that only exists when the snow is new and has not yet been sullied by association with New York.

Being that the snow was unshoveled, it was hard to get one foot in front of the other without sinking all the way down, past the top of my boots. Finally, I remembered that if you put your feet into the footsteps of others, it's easier to walk because you can see how deep your foot will go.

So that's what I did.

Wherever he (I assume it was a he because the footsteps were so much bigger than mine) went, I followed. When those footsteps stopped, I followed another pair, and then another, until I got to where I needed to go.

It struck me as I was walking that this is a mashal to life.

We go through our lives, and it's hard and challenging at times. Sometimes we sink into bitterness and depression. Sometimes we're not clear on where we need to go. Sometimes, we know where to go, but we just can't get there. And sometimes, we don't know when one wrong step will cause us to fall.

It's at those times that we need to follow footsteps that are bigger than ours. Our gedolim – past and present – have walked the path that we are walking. They blazed the Torah path; now it's up to us to follow it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Mother and Me

What is it about almost losing someone that brings home how important they are to you?

My mother recently underwent surgery. Due to complications from the surgery and various other risk factors, she developed a possibly fatal condition that was B"H caught before it could actually become fatal.

But the danger was real.

I've had my differences with my mother in the past – teenage angst and whatnot. We're too much alike and too different at the same time to live together on a regular basis without some kind of fiery display every week or so.

That's ended.

I'm married now, out of the house. I come and go, call to wish good Shabbos, bring over my laundry and raid her cabinets. We've become closer, more equal, with me gaining confidence in our relationship that no longer blows up in my face every so often. Of course, there are still ups and downs. Our relationship isn't perfect, but I see more potential than I used to.

Since the surgery and the complication that arose from it, I'm starting to view my mother differently. I imagine my life without her in it, and I can't see it.

The gaping hole in the tapestry of my life that would exist if I lost her C"V is too raw to exist. Its ragged edges tear at me as I reflect on how badly I've treated her in the past. How casually I treated her, how little I appreciated her.

She loves me like no one else in the world can. She waited for me for so many years, bore me for 9 pain-filled months, delivered me through hours of labor, and this is how I've been treating her?? What's wrong with me? Where is my hakaras hatov?

But now that I almost lost her, I can see things more clearly.

I can see her love for me even when she's at her most annoying. I can see that the things about her that most grate on my nerves are really just her way of expressing that love.

And I can see my love for her and draw on it so I can be the daughter she needs me to be at this critical time.

So, what is it about almost losing someone that brings out how important they are to you? It's the shift in your view of the world – a world without that person – and the realization that it's a much better place with them in it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Long Time No Speak

You know how it is when you call up a friend you haven't spoken to in a while? You finally work up the courage to call, and it's just so.... stilted. There's that awkward "hi, it's me. How are you?" that starts off the conversation. Then there's that standard silence where the other person tries to figure out who you are and why you're calling. When they finally place you, there's an "Oh hi! What's new with you?" and the conversation (if there is any) flows from there.

Lately, though, it's been worse. Every time I speak to someone I haven't spoken to since I got married they ask "Nu, so how's married life?"

I've kinda been feeling that way about the blog. I've wanted to write. It's been so long since my last post and I've had a lot to say (most of which have gone the way of all good thoughts - out of memory).

But I've been scared of the awkward silence. Of all my readers having gone on to more frequently posted pastures. Of calling into the blogosphere and having everyone be thinking "Musing Maidel, who's that?"

But I've bitten the bullet.

I've said something.

Hi. How are you? How've you been the last few months? I'm back in the world of the posting and hope to pop in relatively frequently.

And yes, B"H, married life is wonderful. Busy, but wonderful...
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