Build Others Up

I saw this in one of the student lounges at the local JCC.


It says:

“Don’t Cut Down Others”


It’s far better to build people up then to tear them down. 


Jut like with trees, it’s better to plant a trillion trees than deforest the Amazon Rainforest. 


Trees are life and people are life. 


Be constructive and not destructive. 


Offer a nice word or compliment; provide an attentive and empathetic ear; give direction with some advice and guidance; lend a hand to someone in need; and in general, be a good influence. 


Unfortunately, too many people default to cutting down the old cherry tree! 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Scary Model of Cancer

Saw this at a doctors office in one of the patient rooms. 


At first I wasn’t even sure what it was. 


Looks like a stomach.


What are those globs?


Oy, they represent malignant tumors (from what I understood reading the fine print). 


Really makes it hit home when you see it in front of you on display like that. 


So much suffering from illnesses like cancer.


G-d should have mercy. 


We really need to find “the cure!”  


Imagine what a day that will be.  😉

Your Expiration Date

So I was talking to someone about their challenges in life.


And they said something that really hit a chord:

You never know what your expiration date is!


What an interesting way to say you never know when your time is up.


They used the phrase “expiration date” like we so commonly see on food and medicine products. 


You know when you read the label and it tells you to discard after a certain date. 


So people are like all these other goods that have a date stamped on them.


We have a date stamped on us (maybe it’s on our forehead or some other less conspicuous place), and we just can’t see it. 


Yet, we need to live every day as if that expiration date is coming due. 


Because like that stale food in your fridge or the old medicine in your cabinets, everything and everybody has a shelf life.


So you better live every day good and meaningfully before your expiration date comes due. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Are These Unlivable “Living Conditions” Allowed To Persist?

Continued to be appalled at the unlivable “living conditions” of the homeless in the Capital. 


Makeshift tents line up and down under the train tracks to Union Station. 


Spikes overhead make this an extra frightening looking arrangement. 


People walking by and to/from work–after a while, is there a mixture of acceptance and indifference?


It’s freezing outside and this is NO WAY for any human being to have to live. 


Can we put partisan politics aside for any period of time to deal with the very harsh problems facing real people?  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Roosters or Homelessness?

So I had to drive into downtown Washington D.C. 


Along the way, I saw this colorful artistic rooster. 


I appreciate this quick pick-me-up from this. 


Yet, all around the streets were homeless people. 


One was literally collapsed on a narrow island between the opposing lanes of traffic.


Some horrible-looking food, rags of clothes, and two bottles of liquor lay next to him and one of his arm hang almost into the moving traffic. 


This was just one of many that I saw in abject poverty and desperation. 


So I really feel conflicted looking at this colorful rooster. 


What good is it when the people are homeless, sick, and starving? 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Having Each Other

So I hurt my back last week. 


Incredibly painful. 


Difficult getting up from sitting or laying position. 


Today, I was trying to walk it off a little.


One of my kids was walking with me taking good care of me. 


We ran into a neighbor. 


She was nice and asked about what happened. 


I told her in brief and said how grateful I was for my daughter taking me for a little walk while I try to heal with G-d’s help. 


She smiled and said how lucky I was (which I acknowledged). 


I asked if she had any kids, thinking that she did. 


But she goes to me:

I have no one!


I was a little surprised that she didn’t have anyone and how she said it. 


I sort of repeated it quizzically. 


She goes:

Well I did have a cat but she was 19 years old and I had to put her down. 


I felt really bad for her, especially since I know she had an operation this last year and is planned for another one coming up. 


I said that we’re her neighbors and friends and that she can call on us whenever she needs someone. 


This whole thing just made me so upset–no one should be so alone. 


I  really pray that G-d has mercy on his children and that no one should be alone and that we should all have caring and loving people around us always. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we’ve got to cope with a different reality.


Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 


We can’t do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 


There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 


When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:

Yes, we’re getting older–what’s the alternative?


Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 


We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.


And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it’s like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:

You’re not supposed to leave this world alive!


Putting these together: 


I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process–because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. 😉

Family and Friends

So I heard this interesting saying yesterday, which goes like this:

Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off.


I looked it up and saw that it is actually from Proverbs 27:10.


Thinking about it a little, I understand that obviously people that are close by can more easily be there and help one another than someone else who is far away. 


At the same time, I always learned growing up that:

Blood is thicker than water.

Family is family, and friends are friends.  Family is forever, but friends can come and go. 


Yet you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. 


There are some friends that go back decades to childhood and they are almost like family. 


Also, there are sometimes family that are disassociated or even “black sheep” of the family. 


I guess in the end what’s most important is how we feel about each other, treat each other, and are there for each other.  


Whatever the designation–family or friends–we need each other.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Trying To Be A Plumber

It’s wonderful when we try to help others.

Isn’t that one of the reasons we’re here? 

But sometimes we are trying to help and it’s really something beyond our capabilities. 

My mother-in-law said something funny about this:

Sometimes you’re an electrician, but you’re trying to be a plumber. 

Isn’t that true, we are really one thing, but we are often trying to be something else that we’re really not. 

We can’t help someone that needs a plumber, if we’re an electrician. 

We have to know who we are and what we can do–as well as what we can’t. 

No one can do everything, no matter how smart, strong, or able they think they are.  

Each person has strengths and weaknesses.  

We need an electrician and a plumber. 

And you can’t be what you’re not. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)