The writing of a Shabbat encouragement

This morning Sid asked me if I wrote a Shabbat encouragement this week. I said “no”. My feeling on these has always been that if one comes during the week, I will share it. If not, not. I do know, however, through the feedback I receive that some of you have come to look for them on Thursday evenings. And actually, for the last ten years or so, they’ve been fairly constant.

I’ve also found that when my life is hectic, stressful, busy, distracted, my time in that special space with HaShem is so interrupted that I just don’t feel the inspirations. As you know from last week, that’s where I am at the moment. The carve out times I have with HaShem have been amazing to lift me up, kind of like maintenance I need, with not much extra to share. Such a reminder to each of us that we need Him so.

That having been said, in reading the morning news I ran across an article that really grabbed my attention. It was the story of a young woman who died at age 52 and wrote her own obituary. She had a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder that gradually diminished her capacity to live over a two year period, the last 10 months being bedridden with ultimately no ability even to speak. Her husband describes her as a “force of nature” before then, as he watched her diminish daily. Her life lesson to others was rich with encouragement to enjoy life, live well, live fully, for we don’t know what tomorrow brings.

I saved the article thinking I would send it perhaps to my cousin at some point, but not right now. She is out of her 2 month coma and off of life support (a miracle!) and in rehab but finding it exhausting even to sit. She can barely move her legs, still has the trach tube, but just this week ate pudding (successfully!) as a first step to weaning from the feeding tube. I know now is not the time to send her this article but someday, yes.

As I thought further, however, I decided perhaps this story inspires a Shabbat encouragement message after all. We all know the truth of the words the writer of the obituary shares. Yet, in today’s extremely challenging times, such a reminder, especially from a person with such a poignant life story, helps us all:

Here are her words:

“I’m not telling you what to do, but I am telling you what to do. Stop worrying about your weight, go live, be, do. Smile, people don’t get to feel them enough. Enjoy the moment, it might not come again. If you want to do it, give something a try, try it, taste it, go there. Take it from me, I’m dead. Eat the Danish, go to the show, laugh out loud. Love one another and you’ll never know what you’ll find.”

I thank HaShem for helping me see this encouragement to share with you in His perfect timing, especially the reminder of the most important message He gives us – to love one another.

Shabbat shalom.

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