I wrote this sometime last year. It’s amazing and astonishing to see how different our life looks now. We truly are on the next chapter. Nothing is too hard for G-d!
Interestingly enough, I submitted this to two publications and both (who have published my writing before) turned it down. That was funny because it’s probably my rawest, more real piece. Written ony 10 minutes after it happened.
I think its kind of cool. I had something I needed to say and G-d made sure that I held on to it until I could share it with people who would really get it.
We’re on our way back from eating breakfast together. On a rare splurge I took my 14 year old daughter out to eat. There’s only so many weeks that we can do school and homework and busy – life and not have the time to sit down and talk.
I know that when I get to the register I’ll be holding my breathe; “will my debit card work? Am I in overdraft? Some might criticize me for being in a restaurant altogether considering how broke I am. But my mother’s intuition tells me that I’m exactly where I need to be.
I don’t tell any of this to my daughter. I just enjoy her and watch her relax into conversation as the minutes glide by.
It’s a rarified atmosphere in that quiet café on this Tuesday morning. I woke up feeling particularly emotional. I’m experiencing everything in raw, rugged form.
The only other table filled is taken by a woman who’s having breakfast with her special needs son. She’s just gotten up from sitting shivah for her husband.
I give her a long, close hug though it’s the first time I’m meeting her. There’s more I want to give her. I left her a piece of my heart and it seems to me she felt it.
My heart is broken. I used to be like a strong, ripe tree. “Come, sit in my shade, pick my fruit, swing on my branches. I’m strong and rooted.”
Now my broken heart is in pieces, thousands of pieces. I offer one to each person I meet. I share with them what I have – my brokenness. I know that when two fragments connect they become a larger piece. Not whole – but more whole and that’s the most I can hope for. This year has been a struggle but I’m picking up some souvenirs from this journey to the poorhouse.
There’s a strange joy in all this not having. On the way back I share my thoughts with my daughter.
“It’s fun” I say. There’s something funny about not having extra money.”
She looks grateful for the topic. “yeah”, she says, I’ve been thinking about it. It’s so weird. I mean we don’t have money?! Why are you saying its fun?
I’m grinning. “Well, not fun, but funny. I mean, this is funny! It’s an adventure! We don’t know what to expect next!” I can feel her listening. She’s hearing that I believe what I’m saying.
“You know how it is when things go well? It’s so easy to say why they’re working. It all seems to make sense. But when things aren’t going well you get this sense of ‘Wo! Hashem is taking me for a ride!’ Our life is a story. What’s going to happen next?”
I reminded her of how many changes, both good and difficult we’ve experienced over the last few years.
“If this was a book called The Perlman’s Have No Money Their Whole Lives, It would be harder to be happy. It’s more like, The Perlman’sAre Happy. Chapter Two -ThePerlman Kids Are Awesome. Chapter Three- The Perlman’s Have No Money.
We’ll see what happens next”
Hearing my own words fills me with indescribable hope and excitement. My daughter is catching on. Still, she wants to know – fun?? “Not being able to afford things is fun?! Like, do you mean physically or spiritually?”
“Fun”, I said. “Lets’ say you’re planning a trip to China. You have your whole itinerary mapped out. You get there and your trip is perfect. Everything flows smoothly and you see every sight you’d planned on. That’s a great trip. Right?
Now let’s say that Totty said he’ll take you to China. He promises you the time of your life. You get there and nothing works out, the plans keep changing. The trip looks nothing like you thought it would. But every day is great.
Every day you wake up with a sense of anticipation, ‘what’s going to happen today?’ And it turns out that it doesn’t matter so much how many places you go. The fun part is having Totty’s undivided attention. He’s totally there for you. Spending time with him is the ingredient that flavors the whole trip. Whatever you do, you’re together! It’s an adventure! Now that’s fun!
We have Hashem with us on this trip. This chapter isn’t going to last forever, but for now, it’s awesome! We feel His undivided attention.”
Our car was a quiet happy place for a moment as we drunk in the image. I noticed with contentment that we were on the same page – she understood. I dropped her off at school and she jumped lightly out of the car. I sent a whispered thanks to Hashem. It wasn’t relief. It was more then that. It wasn’t even just about that exquisite interaction.
It was simply thanks for being. For being here, alive, part of this process, a wife, a mother; It was thanks for Him carrying me through that moment and every moment before and every moment to come.