White Lie, Black Truth

No this is not another civil or human rights post, although I like writing those as well. 


Rather, this is about how we use our words to help and not hurt others. 

“White Lie, 

Black Truth”

Yes, we all know that it’s wrong to lie (it’s even in the 10 Commandments). 


Except, of course, when we need to tell a “white lie” in order to keep someone’s feelings from getting hurt.


For example, I may not like your new haircut, but when you ask me glowingly what I think, instead of telling you how it’s too short or whatever, I tell you, “Yeah, it looks great!”


Then, there is the “black truth.”


That’s when we swallow hard and tell the  truth to someone, even though it may hurt their feelings, it’s ultimately for their good. 


For example, your child may be going of course with their lives, and while you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you know you need to tell them the truth in order to help them course-correct.


Telling lies or truth can be hurtful to people, but a white lie isn’t really bad, because it’s used to protect someone’s feeling, the black truth, is also not so dark and foreboding, because there are times when you need to get past the superficial, be real with someone, and tell them the hard truth in order to help them in a very practical sense. 


That’s one of life’s most difficult lessons, that not everything is black or white. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Advertisements

Longevity…85 Is The New 65

Youth.jpeg

So I was speaking to one of our very nice elderly neighbors.


Last week he lost his dear wife of 60 years!


I had visited him during Shiva (the Jewish period of mourning) to wish him our best and let him know we are there if there is anything he needs. 


He told me how the night before she passed, they had gone out to eat and to the theatre (she loved the theatre)…and everything was fine!


And then the next day, he went to work–he still teaches medicine at the local hospital 2 days a month.


At midday, he called his wife and asked how she was and if she needed anything from the store (to eat etc.)


She told him she was fine and she didn’t need anything. 


But by the time he got home just one hour later…she had fallen, hit her head, and died. 


He tried to do CPR by it was no use, she was gone. 


Both he and his wife were 84-years old. 


He mentioned that would tease her that he was 3 months older than her, and so she had to listen to him!


I felt so bad for him…it was obvious how much he loved her and missed her already. 


When he told me how old she was, I tried to say reassuringly:

“That’s a good old age…at least she lived a full life!”


But then he answered:

“84–that’s nothing! 85 is the new 65!!!”  

And went on to tell me how many of their friends are already in the 90’s. 


It’s funny how no matter what age you are…there is always a will to live!


He said how she had passed quickly and so maybe he could consider that a blessing. 


And we talked about how it truly is especially when some other people really suffer prolonged periods with terrible debilitating and painful illnesses. 


It was also strange that around the same time, I ran into yet another elderly neighbor, and he had tears in his eyes…and I asked how he is. 


He told me how he just learned 3 weeks ago that his wife has lung cancer. 


Seeing his expression how bad things were, I inquired what stage it was at. 


He said, “stage 3 cancer,” and I told him as well how sorry I was for his pain. 


All this made me realize again, how very tenuous life is…and we all hang by a thread that G-d decides at any moment when to shear and when to cut–we need to live every moment to the fullest and as if it’s our last. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Meaning Of Pain

Buddha.jpeg

Wow, I am so impressed with my daughter.


I spoke with her this evening and she has grown into such a smart, mature, and good person. 


We were talking about some hard times.


And she said to me so smartly (and I am so proud of her):

“The reason that we have pain is to avoid more pain.”


Wow…think about that for a moment. 


Everyone gets physical, emotional, and even spiritual pain in their lives. 


Even little things like stubbing your toe, getting a small burn, or a paper cut–these things give you a instant or more of pain…but it jolts you into attention of what to avoid and to action how to protect yourself to prevent further and worse pain down the road. 


A little pain now can fortunately save you a lot of pain later!


(Or in the gym they say, “No pain, no gain.”)


My father used to say about difficult life lessons:

“Better to cry now than to cry later!”


He was right–bad situations generally don’t get better with age. 


Continuing the discussion with my lovely daughter tonight, she said to me:

“A person becomes better when they struggle. I’ve become better by struggling.”


Again, like little pains, even larger struggles in life challenge us to learn, grow, and become better and stronger people. 


I remember as a kid–when we went through those growth spurts–it would actually hurt a little–some muscle aches here and some cramps there–whew, a few inches taller already. 


Growth hurts, but it’s kind of a good hurt that only someone with the emotional intelligence to understand maturity and betterment can really grasp. 


No, I’m not advocating for self-flagellation–just that we know when pain and struggle is a defining moment in life–like shaping and sharpening a great sword in fierce fire. 


It’s hot, but the heat is healing and necessary sometimes to grow as human and spiritual beings. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Thank You To The Rescuers

Houston.jpeg

With all the devastation going on around Houston and the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Harvey…


I thought it would be nice to just take a moment to reflect.


First, the pain and suffering of the people affected. 


I couldn’t believe last night when I saw this image of residents in a assisted nursing facility sitting up to the necks in flood waters.


Or this morning, when I saw a photo in the Wall Street Journal of a firefighter holding a mother with her baby daughter lying on her, rescuing them through the waters. 


With over 3,000 rescues performed for people stranded in attics, rooftops, in cars, and all over the city and surroundings, I also think it’s important to recognize all the firefighters and other emergency workers who put their lives on the line to help others. 


The Houston area is expected to get 50 inches of rain in under a week, which is what their usual annual rainfall is. 


So there is massive flooding and damage from Harvey as well as 250,000 people without power. 


My prayers go out to the people impacted and gratitude to the people who help them. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Huffington Post)

Look Down To Feel Up

Feet.jpeg

Listen, everyone has problems.


Whoever I talk to has something bad and fairly serious to complain about, and there seems to be new things coming all the time.


Just today, I heard from one person who went to the dentist with a tooth pain only to discover it had been silently infected for over a year, and was so serious that it literally could’ve killed him.


Another person told be about having a child with special needs and moving to an area with a school that could more effectively deal and help them. 


And a third person told me how they lost their husband many years ago at the age of just 39-years old and being left a widow. 


But people make the best of it!


They have to.


I remember my father saying when my mother got so sick with Parkinson’s Disease:

“We are part of the survivors club.”


It wasn’t easy to see her endless suffering while he selflessly tried to help her day-in and -out and cope with the physical and emotional pain of it all. 


When I was younger my dad would teach me about not feeling bad whatever the situation, and to always be grateful for what you have, and he told the story:

“There was a poor man who had no shoes, and he felt very bad…that is, until he saw someone else who had no feet.”


It doesn’t take much for things to get really bad in life…sometimes it can seem like we’re literally just holding on by a thin thread. 


But as G-d tests us and teaches us, we need to try to look on the bright side and be grateful that things aren’t worse….and yes, they can even get better again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wise Man Watcheth

Asian Sculpture.jpeg

I just loved this Asian sculpture that I found in this cool antique store.


It was white and slim with a Asian man face, long beard, and tall hat. 


The face was so expressive.


The eyes so alert and watching. 


The beard and hat made him look old and wise. 


As a real person, this is someone who has seen and learned so many things.


Forever watching.


Forever seeking to understand.


Forever trying to learn the secrets of the life. 


This is a person to consult and get guidance from. 


With age comes wisdom.


And with (occasional) reincarnation comes more opportunity to learn the painful lessons that we haven’t, but must.


How long has this man been sitting there watching and learning–how long must we?


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Like Removing A Nail

Toes.JPEG

So you always hear about the techniques used when people are being tortured…one of them being have their nails ripped off.


Ouch!


So this week when I had a ingrown toenail removed, I said jokingly to the podiatrist:


“Do you do waterboarding also?”


Ok, funny, not-funny.  Still got a chuckle!


But in removing the nail, the technique is really so amazing.


They inject the toe with a local anesthetic, but hey even the injections into a sensitive toe could be pretty uncomfortable. 


So before the injection, they spray you toe with a freezing spray, so you don’t even feel the injections.


When he actually removed the nail and chemically destroyed the nailbed so it wouldn’t come back, I didn’t feel a thing.


I mean, I literally didn’t feel a thing!


It was a wonderful feeling–whatever he did, however much it would’ve hurt–it didn’t.


I thought to myself in a wave of anesthetic and freeze-numbed delight, this is absolutely wonderful.


No pain, not even a pinch. 


I could sense everything going on around me, take it in, think about it, even mull it over again and again, and just smile. 


In a way, I thought how wonderful life would be to have the ability to think in the head and feel from the heart, but have no pain or suffering in the body. 


Yes, there are plenty of damning and painful thoughts, memories, and heartaches, but for the body to be numb (even momentarily) to all the bad stuff that actually felt pretty good.


How would it feel if the mind and heart also felt no pain and only bliss–I smiled even more. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)