Good days and bad days. Everyone has them. Lately, it seems that there have been more bad days than good days. This “thing” we are all going through is testing our patience, our resolve, our strength, our beliefs, or, if you are a different kind of person, it is just business as usual with some socially distanced modifications. You can look up at the bright blue sky and almost forget what is going on around you. You can walk into a supermarket, face mask on, gloves on, and still give a big smile and greeting to the people who are working there. The choice is still yours. The choice to be negative or positive, anxious or chill — that choice is still yours.
And in the midst of all of this, in the midst of the sadness and the prayer, there are glimmers of hope. Sparks of joy and beauty. These come to us in the form of heroes. The heroes we have been hearing about lately are those on the front lines — the EMTs, the doctors, the nurses, the physician assistants, every and all healthcare worker and first responder who has been a part of this war. These are the obvious heroes. If you or a loved one has been a survivor of this war, or, unfortunately, a victim, these are the heroes who have helped get you through this. And then there are those who are a different kind of hero.
A few months ago, son #2 found out that he was a bone marrow match for a 61-year-old man with leukemia. Because this happened, before the world started officially falling apart, we had plans for him to give this donation while he was in Florida. (Back to that man plans and God laughs scenario…) Since we are in a new reality, last week son #2 and I took a trip to the cancer center at Hackensack Hospital for a three-hour physical. Anna, the lovely donation coordinator, must have asked a zillion questions, took blood, asked more questions — and she just kept saying, “Thank you so much for doing this. So many people have been canceling and we really appreciate your wanting to do this.”
And I just kept crying. I was so proud of my boy. In the midst of all of this awfulness, here was my favorite middle child, ready to do this totally selfless thing, when it would have been just as easy for him to use what was going on all around us as an excuse to just stay home.
He is my spark of joy and light.
And then there is son #3, who, along with his friends, have been delivering shmurah matzah to members of the community. He has friends who have been packing for Tomchei Shabbos and delivering Tomchei Shabbos. These boys (and I am sure others) have been doing things to help the members of the community who need it, especially at a time like this, when no one can leave their homes. They also are heroes.
And then there is my mother. My mom has a friend who she speaks to every morning. One morning, her friend didn’t answer the phone. The rest of the day got away from my mom, and the next morning, when she tried her friend again, there still was no answer. It was very unusual for her friend not to answer my mom’s calls, especially two mornings in a row.
To make a very long story short, my mom’s friend had been locked in her basement for more than 24 hours, with no food, water, medicine, or a bathroom. And because of my mom, she was saved. How cool is that? And it wasn’t even my fault!!! (Sorry, I just had to get that in).
Yes, we are living in a really bizarre time. Will weddings or funerals or shiva calls ever be the same? Will life ever be the same? We are losing loved ones who we cannot properly mourn…it is just really, really sad on so many levels.
But that is why we need to focus on the good, and the good that people around us are doing. And we can all be a part of that, because that is a choice we can make. A choice to do good is something that no one can take away from us. And in these crazy, unpredictable times, that is the best kind of choice to make.
Wishing all of you a wonderful Passover holiday, filled with good health, peace, and regular trips to the bathroom…. (We all know how that matzah can be…)
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck has been managing to keep her sense of humor because her boys and dil are the best!