I have always been somewhat sensitive to the temporary tenor of life on the planet. Perhaps that is due to being one of the younger of five siblings, meaning that our parents were older, more fragile, and our grandparents, and aunts and uncles had already began the process of slipping away when we were much younger. Perhaps it was due to a love for reading, and a tendency to choose books that were of a melancholy tone, like the Diary of Anne Frank. Perhaps it was due to many sermons on the brevity of life and the foolishness of waiting to "Give G-d your all".
Or perhaps it was simply due to the fact that I had to grow up much too soon. Perhaps it must be attributed to the horrific effects of severe abuse, which robbed me of the delightful, light-hearted innocence of childhood all too soon. There was no light-heart possible in the world where I lived, the burdens which were applied to my tiny soul weighted me down and made me wistful for other lands and other times - which I came to know as "Heaven". So at a very young age I developed the mindset of those who are "old" and worn out on life; aware of both the value of life on this planet, and a feeling that it was somehow over-rated.
Whatever the reason behind this temporal awareness, I have never been more in touch with it than of late. With the passing on of my dear Mother-in-law, Emma Lee Denny (Duncan) Nimmer, suddenly I am even more aware of how dear life is, and how quickly it can slip by us, leaving us to mourn, or others to mourn us! Not that she went quickly, or unexpectedly. Still, her almost 80 years seem but a drop in the bucket now that the clock which recorded her minutes here has come to a heavy silence. In dealing with her things, wanting to bless her siblings with mementos of her life, we look through them and I find the gifts, well-wishes and longings of friends scribbled in books or on tags among her possessions. Friends who missed her already for the distance of time and space, but who will miss her all the more for the greater distance to which she has been removed - when I can find a way to contact them. If I can.
It makes me want to slow down the hurry of life, to call a halt to the hustle bustle and just go love on my friends! I am a woman who is blessed with many folk that could go by that title - "Friend"! So many friends, so little time! I scarcely see any of them! I struggle to feel that I give those who live in the house with me any quality time! My husband and I pass each other, much like a "tag team", reaching out to each other only long enough to "hand off" the next objective, to check notes with each other, to trade information about our corporate existence. Often stealing a bit of snuggle time in the early hours, or before drifting off to exhausted sleep, while wondering where that day went?! We make time to come to a halt on Shabbot evening, if life doesn't throw us something which we dare not dodge, to sit quietly in our house and drink in its peace. To try to salvage "family time" from the never ending series of events that the children think they can not live without! But honestly, even if they did stay in, they would only "enjoy" our snoring! We are too tired, too often.
I am thankful that G-d is a righteous judge. For if I were the judge I fear that I would be doomed! I seem to always fall short in my own eyes. I seem to always drop the ball when it needs to be played. I seem to always be running to catch up. I do not ever seem to have that sense of being ahead. Of being able to luxuriate in a job well done. My job seems endless! I can not stretch myself far enough to touch all the lives that I wish I could! Even with the modern marvels of electronic communication. If anything that has complicated matters, by giving me even more relationships in which to be negligent! Oy vey! More souls to pull at my heart strings, more people with whom I feel a need to "touch base"!
Sometimes even my writing seems more of a curse than a blessing. It is often misunderstood, and brings an offense - then there must be a patient explaining and an effort at making peace. And, on the other hand, it is often understood to the same results! Which also necessitates a patient, loving response, though no explanation will ever be efficient at removing offenses of that nature. I love to write, but it takes time! Hearing G-d, and giving Him the proper worship and attention takes time! Being a loving, submitted, even half-attentive wife takes time! Being a mother who is present, and also a gift, takes time! And maybe I am the only one who feels this way but time just isn't what it used to be! It is flying away much too quickly these days for this old girl to keep up!
So to all of my Chavarim, my friends, please know that you are among my dearest valuables! Please know that though you are not often in my presence you are so often in my thoughts, prayers and memories! Know that when I think of you good vibes come your way, and the warmest of imaginary hugs! Know that my rather distinguishable laughter surrounds the memories of our good times together, whenever I think of you, and that I will not wait until you move to heaven to miss you!
To my family that I seem to take so for granted, please know that I do not take you for granted! I do love and pray for you upon frequent memory of you. I do long for you and look for ways to get together that never seem to manifest! I trust that if any of you really need me that G-d will make a way for me to be there for you and vice-verso.
I hope that when we get to heaven and look around we won't be missing anyone! I hope and pray that wherever I have touched any of your lives I have brought happiness and not gloom, joy and not sorrow, help and not difficulty. I hope that I have expressed adequate gratitude for your kindness, and adequate kindness when you needed it most. And most of all, I hope that I have not given my Lord a bad rap!
As another Shabbot settles in upon us I leave you with this little Shabbot song, which means, "Peace to you, my friends, till we meet again...".
Shalom Chavarim, Shalom Chavarim, Shalom, Shalom! Le heet ryot, le heet ryot, Shalom, Shalom!
And as the words to the last strains of the Mourner's Kaddish stress - "May He who makes peace in His high places make peace upon us, and upon all Israel! And say, Amen!"
Shabbot Shalom, Chavarim and Mishpocah!