Friday, September 29, 2006

The Easiest Mitzvah for Me

.... is Bikkur Cholim, visiting the sick.

My coworker is in hospital and I saw her last night. It's hard for me to do most mitzvahs but for some reason, perhaps because when I was a child, I wasn't allowed in.

I remember going to visit my great-grandmother in a nursing home. They didn't allow children in there so she waved to me from a window. I never saw her other than that that I can remember. And of course when my mom gave birth to my brother and I was eight I couldn't go in and my dad showed my sister and I my mom's window and we waved to the window.

My dad was in the hospital when I was in high school and I visited him, of course. Then my friend Richard got a brain tumor and I visited him in hospital before he died. It's just an easy thing that seems to me like such a no-brainer. I mean, you get credit for just showing up. How hard is that? For me, it's easy, and I like it. I like the fact that by simply showing up I can make someone feel better. I like taking my daughter and teaching her this mitzvah. I can do it better, but I can do it. And for whatever reason, others can't-- it's too hard for them because they HATE hospitals. I like them, even though they are lonely places. But it's easy to make them happy and comfortable, all you need is visitors. Anyway. tons of mitzvahs I can't do, don't do, don't even know about. Visiting the Sick? I'm making good progress on this one. Especially that it's this week. I am not mature enough not to want to make G-d happy. Look! I'm doing a mitzvah!

Speaking of G-d, I feel like the couple in Ushpizin. Right when I was worrying about how I was going to come up with the money to pay for my daughter's 8th grade trip to DC and New York, lo and behold, I get a settlement on this class-action lawsuit I had with an old employer... many times more money than I need.

I remember a year or so ago I was in a gas station and this guy came in and started talking to another guy in line and basically started 'witnessing' not to proselytize but to share. He was just out of jail, newly clean and sober, trying to find a job, struggling, and was talking about the good things that had happened to him. He said something along the lines of "If He's taking care of me like this when I haven't even got all my shit together, can you imagine what my life's gonna be like when I'm really together and walking with Him?" It was the most sincere expression of gratitude to G-d I've ever heard and I think of that now. G-d is showering me with gifts and love and assistance and I'm so weak and wimpy in my attention to G-d and what G-d needs me to do in this world. Can you imagine what my life will be like when I really get going? (Don't tell me about the increased challenges that come along with increased practice and discipline... shhh).

So, anyway, when I got the check I immediately got out my prayerbook and called my girlfriend to have her say a blessing with me, and we said "Baruch ata Hashem, hatov v'hamaytiv" - Blessed is G-d who is Good and who Creates Good. And then she tells me that just when SHE was worrying about how she was going to pay her taxes and other expenses this month, today SHE got an unexpected check in the mail that more than covered things.

Now, on one level I think we are probably the weakest little baby souls because G-d has made our lives so easy, but I'm very glad to have such a doting Father to overlook our failings and help us and shower us with love and help.

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