Big Kiss Followed By Harsh Slap

Slap

So I share this story not out of anger, but to tell of something important that happened to me.


It was when I was very sick last year from surgical complications…


And someone did one of the nicest things for me…and also one of the most hurtful.


This was at the point of hospitalization #3, I think (there was more after), and the doctors were shaking their heads–uh, not a good sign. 


Frankly, I didn’t know anymore whether I was going to make it. 


At that time, someone close reached out to me and my wife and said they were going to hold a prayer vigil for me in their home one evening to try and help. 


They did and even sent me photographs of the wonderful people taking the time to ask G-d to save me…I was deeply moved and grateful. 


But subsequently on a phone call with the person who set this up, they said to me seemingly with resentment at having to have done it and undoing all the good they had done…


“You know you really need to get some zechusim of your own!”


Zuchusim means qualities or deeds that merit some reward or good.


In other words, I was getting judged and scolded and was being told that I was in pain, suffering, and sick because basically I MUST be an aweful person who deserves it


And if not for her organizing the prayer group and those others with zuchusim that attended, I on my own probably did not even deserve to live. 


Gee, thanks for the slap, slap, and slap.


While I am sure her words were intended to help me by exhorting ultimate life betterment, at the time and even now, the roughness and shrill of them hurt–it’s nothing less than a matter of soul!


While I am no saint–and I think few of us can claim that title no matter how hard we may put ourselves on that lofty pedestal–I know that in my own way–maybe not the most traditional way that other religious people can fully relate to–I try my best to serve G-d, be a decent human being, and a good influence…while not perfect by any sense of the word. 


Laying sick and vulnerable, I needed to be told that that I was okay and everything would be okay with G-d’s blessing–that whatever the suffering and whatever the reason, my life has good in it and meaning to it–even while we can all better ourselves. 


But while I felt the kiss from this person when they organized the beautiful prayer group for me, I soon felt the sting of the slap from the strict harsh “religious” judgement from someone that didn’t even really know my days in and outs. 


While I know I can do better–and I am committed to continue to try to learn and grow as a person–and serve G-d and help others–but for crying out loud have some compassion, go easy on the severity of the judgement and exhortations, and maybe give some benefit of the doubt. 


Words have meaning even though deeds surpass words, and we should be careful with both. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos posting of Batmancomic.infogenerator)

Creation and Time Management

Embroidery

This is a photo of a beautiful embroidery.

It is called “Creation” by Leonard Nierman. 

Really liked it!

Also, wanted to share something funny I heard from a colleague about time management (as learned at DoD).

It doesn’t have to do with creation being 6 days and on the 7th day, G-d rested and it was good. 

Rather it had to do with being on time (or not) as follows:

“If you’re on time, you’re late.  If you’re 10 minutes early, you’re on time.”

Wish that was standard fare. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Andy Blumenthal With Roberta Grossman

Andy Blumenthal and Roberta Grossman
What an honor today to be able to take this photo with Roberta Grossman, movie Producer/Director. 



First we saw her upcoming movie “Above and Beyond.”



It is the story about the birth of the Israeli Air Force, and it was co-produced with Nancy Spielberg (Yes, the sister of Director Steven Spielberg). 



In 1948 when the U.N. (under G-d’s guidance) established the State of Israel, the Arab nations prepared to attack the fledgling nation state.



Just 3 years after the end of Holocaust, the surrounded Jewish people with inferior arms, faced almost certain devastating defeat in their War of Independence. 



However, brave volunteer pilots from America, Canada, and South Africa answered the call to help their brethren in Israel. 



With ingenuity, some smuggled air planes, brief training by Czechoslovakia, and the blessings of Hashem, the Israel Defense Forces stopped the advancing Arab armies–of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq–in their tracks. 



It is an amazing story of courage and heroism, and Ms. Grossman did a wonderful job answering enthusiastic questions from the audience in Virginia today. 



Kol Hakavod on a excellent film–thank you!  ;-)

The Best Cut

Butcher
So I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this, but my wife encouraged me in an effort to help others going through similar things.



Recently, I went to the Surgeon about my other hip to read my MRI…



After having read the report myself before the appointment, I was convinced I was heading under the knife again with the pain I was experiencing, challenges getting around, and the verbiage in the report like: 



“Significant…”



“Advanced.”



Anyway, my daughter came along because I wasn’t sure I was going to easily get parking in this place…always a challenge there. 



Waiting for the doctor, I asked G-d for a miracle, since after all the hospitalizations this last year, I literally thought that another one at this time could very well kill me.



Low and behold, the doctor comes in and as if G-d is directing his speech for the next 40 minutes or so, he does everything to dissuade me from having the surgery this month, even though he was the one at the last appointment that had already booked me on his surgical calendar. 



So today the miracle unfolded…



First, the doctor read my MRI, but then quickly flipped the screen to an MRI of another patient–a 76 year old–and he showed me the unbelievable progression of the osteoarthritis from near onset to ultimately the complete collapse of the joint over about 9 years time for this lady…the last MRI looked like complete and utter bone devastation–I had never seen anything like it!



Next he opened his drawer and took out a horror basket of used replacement joints parts that he had removed from patients that needed revision–he showed me the wear and breakage and described in horrible detail how he often has to dig these out of the bones of his patients and how each revision–which everyone will need after about 10-15 years or sooner if they become symptomatic–becomes more complicated and dangerous in terms of infection, blood clots, and recovery. 



Then he told how in the field so many replacement surgeries do not go well and that he sees 3-5 patients a week who come to him because they are UN-happy with the replacements their doctors did. 



This went on and on, and bottom line…he said, “I love to do the surgeries–I really do–but wait as long as you can before getting it [on the other hip], since while it can provide for short term improvements, each revision is worse, and at your age you could need three–on each side.”



Needless-to-say, from this whole thing, I was in utter shock and some disbelief as I had been told these prosthetics can last 20-25 years with the newer models, and I was not aware of what the revisions really entailed in later years or the challenges they brought. 



As he continued to describe the risks in painful vivid details (note, I was his last appointment of the day and he was talking his time here), my eyes were literally welling up in tears.



I looked over at my daughter and she was sitting mouth agape shaking her head at what he was saying. I was deeply sorry that she had to sit through this (what we had thought was a simple MRI reading and confirmation of the upcoming procedure date). 



I left the doctor’s office, of course, canceling the surgery–still in severe pain and with trouble walking–however, “scared straight” to make the best of this for now, but also afraid of what lies ahead. 



I have to have faith that the L-rd who made the miracle to hold off on the surgery for now will continue to guide and protect me through this illness that today has no cure. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There Is Today!

Racquetball

I’ve always enjoyed physical fitness.


While I’ve lost some mobility with my hips…


I am trying to make the most of every day.


Rebecca is showing me the ropes with racquetball, and even Dossy tried it. 


A friend told me: “There is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only today!” ;-)


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

DC, The Cleanest City In The World

Gum
Check out what we have in Washington, DC…



Gum Busters–“chewing gum removal specialists”!



If we can get the gummies out of politics, imagine what we can accomplish. 



Man, DC has got to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. ;-)



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shut Up, Pleez!

Microphone

Some people just don’t know when to turn down the volume or shut it off, altogether. 


Perhaps they don’t have enough to do, are craving attention, trying to make a name for themselves, are plain ‘ol destructive, or are simply acting the fool and looking for their next victim.


But they have to get into everyone else’s business, telling them how to do their jobs, taking over and hostage any meeting they can shove their way into with their private agendas, emailing everyone and their mother with their henpecking of the day, and demanding their needs are the priority and rises up over everyone elses–no matter whom or what else is going on. 


These people think they have an open mic and they are going to grab it, hold it, and never let it go. 


You beg them to stop, to control themselves, to work out their issues constructively, to give others a chance, to get in line, to let you do your job and they should do theirs, to get some situational and personal awareness, but rather than putting the mic down….


No, they see your calm and rationale requests for peace as squirming capitulation and the opportunity to hit you again and again. 


Everyone else has already given up and just won’t respond or even acknowledge the Chicken Little screaming over and over again “The sky is falling”–when it isn’t, and when so much important work is getting done by very hardworking and good people, who know how to act professionally. 


The kids nowadays say it straight up, “shut your pie hole!”


And that is really such a good idea. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)