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Casting a (Re)New(ed) Role

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Jewels of Elul Blog Tour

This post is part of Jewels of Elul, which celebrates the Jewish tradition to dedicate the 29 days of the month of Elul to growth and discovery in preparation for the coming high holy days. This year the program is benefiting Beit T’shuvah, a residential addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. You can subscribe on Jewels of Elul to receive inspirational reflections from public figures each day of the month. You don’t have to be on the blog tour to write a blog post on “The Art of Beginning… Again”. We invite everyone to post this month (August 11th – September 8th) with Jewels of Elul to grow and learn.

I continue to be amazed at how we play the roles in which we were cast. Whether assigned by others or self-assigned, it is all too easy to by type-cast and stuck in the same role for years. Amazing, too, how an ordinary event can bring about a dramatic recast.

It was a headache unlike any other. Though I can no longer accurately call to mind the sensation of pain, thanks to the body’s self-preserving amnesia, I remember that it was excruciating. The slightest sound, light, or movement caused suffocating waves of pain to consume me to the point that I became physically and violently ill. It was an overpowering pain and it terrified me.

For well over a year, I faced a great physical struggle as I emerged from the debilitating pain and subsequent weakness brought on by spinal meningitis. Bed-ridden for many weeks, I found the most basic activities challenging. The process of recuperating from spinal meningitis was long and fraught with setbacks. It required perseverance, strength, and faith.

Just two years ago. I fell ill the night before erev Simchat Torah just two years ago. The pain, fatigue, and residual muscular issues pursued me for months. Visits to the doctors, twice-weekly phyiscal therapy for a year, and frequent naps became so normal that I had forgotten what life was like without them. Even after I was cleared to return to work, I was aware that I was not the same. The slightest twinge of pain was suspect and cause for concern. Once an insatiable reader, the effort now required to get through a page was exhausting. And demoralizing. Just two years. Yet so much more.

Laundry. It is the bane of any homemaker’s existence. No matter how much laundry one does, there is always more. Perhaps that is the reason that it is usually a mindless exercise. Same stuff, different day. Except…except on this particular day, late last week, I looked at the clothes that I was folding. Really saw them. They reflected back a young woman who was still recuperating from a dark and encumbered existence. But that is not who I am anymore. It is not who I want to be anymore.

It was as though I had awakened from a dream. Who had worn these uninspired clothes? Who was this girl whose one-time self-assuredness and love of life had withered away in the wake of disease? And whose exterior manifestation was of one who ought to be satisfied with the mere ability to get dressed?

And so, as we reached the halfway point in this intense month, I cast off the specter of illness.

הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ יְהוָה אֵלֶיךָ ונשוב (וְנָשׁוּבָה), חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם

Return us to You, O Eternal our God, and truly shall we return, renew our days as in the past (Eicha 5:21).

And so, I emerge, restored to health. Renewed as in the days of my past.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, 27 August 2010 7:38 am

    sometimes the smallest things (laundry, not the meningitis) have the greatest impact, don’t they?

    hard to believe that it’s been two years….

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Saturday, 28 August 2010 10:41 pm

      Yeah…it really does seem like another lifetime.

  2. Friday, 27 August 2010 12:22 pm

    this was beautifully written and inspiring. i’m happy to hear that this describes your past and not your present, or future.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Saturday, 28 August 2010 10:42 pm

      Thanks, G 😉

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