It is hard to write a story when you are sad. The Rabbis tell us that we should always be B’Simcha, happy, but sometimes there are things that make you sad and you have to work through it to try to come out of the tunnel of darkness into the light. My Bubie told me that there was once a king who told his jeweler that he wanted him to make him a ring that had a saying on it that when he felt sad it would make him happy and when he felt happy he would be grateful for his happiness because he would know that it would not last forever. The wise jeweler inscribed on the ring the following words- THIS TOO SHALL PASS. This is a story about a person who was feeling sad and then she was able to begin to feel happy, but it took work and it took time.
There was once a girl named Kayla. Kayla had many challenges in her life. She was born with a problem in her blood and there was no medicine to help her. Sometimes she felt very tired and sometimes she could not do the things that other children could do. This problem caused something in her stomach area to grow and make her look very fat. She had to be careful not to get punched in the stomach because this could cause something to tear inside her tummy area and she would have to go straight to the hospital in an ambulance.
Mostly Kayla had a good life, but sometimes she felt that she would like to be as healthy as all of the other children and that her parents would not worry about her so much. Eventually, she had an operation to take out the part in her stomach, called the spleen, which made her look so fat.
When Kayla got older she fell and broke her leg. With her other problem, her leg did not heal so fast and also it took the doctors a long time to find the break. Kayla had many surgeries on her leg and for a while she could walk on her leg, until one day she got an infection and then the doctors had to take out the part of her leg that made her legs even and she had to learn to walk with one leg much shorter than the other leg.
Kayla always tried to be positive. She believed that a person could do many important and good things in life even if they have a handicap. So, she continued to learn, she became a teacher, she got married and she had children. Kayla and her husband, Yisrael, were very happy together although, when Kayla was sick it was very hard on Yisrael and the other members of her family.
When Kayla was a young girl her family was always together for all of the holidays. This included her brothers, her parents, her grandparents and sometimes cousins too. As Kayla got older the family started to fight with one another and some members weren’t talking to other members of the family. Also, when Kayla’s grandparents died many of the family members didn’t think that it was so important to be together for holidays. Some family members even stopped celebrating the holidays altogether. This made Kayla very sad because even though she had been sick in her life she always had her family around her for support and that was disappearing
One day, Kayla and Yisrael decided to go from America to the Land of Israel with their children. They loved the Jewish people and wanted to build a life in a Jewish country. It was not easy for them or their children. First of all, the language was a different language and even people were different than the people they grew up with in America. However, they thought that it was important to bring their children to the Jewish State to learn Hebrew, to get a good education and to contribute to the country which they believed could change the world for the better.
Kayla and Yisrael thought that when they moved to Israel it would be a new start for the next generation. Their children would, God willing, get married and have their own children and then Kayla and Yisrael would be surrounded by the next generation of family. This would not be the old family, but it would be such a wonderful experience to be with children and grandchildren and maybe even great grandchildren for all of the holidays.
I should add that by this point there was a medicine that Kayla could take that made her blood all better and except for her problem with her leg and some problems with her back, because of the way she walked, she could live a healthy life like anyone else. This was a big miracle! Kayla had once learned that Hashem made the cure for the disease before He made the disease and it is our job, as people, to find the cures. This is why science and doctors are so important in our world and many Jewish people choose to study those subjects. Kayla saw this in her own life; she took a medicine that didn’t yet cure her, but made her feel much, much better.
When Yisrael and Kayla first came to Israel they had many happy holidays together with their children and their friends and their children. Life was very busy with school, work, learning a new language and making new friends. As their children grew older they still came for holidays and it was always fun to make all the favorite foods that everyone loved to eat, to sing, to discuss and to learn together at holiday meals.
Then, things began to change. Of course as the Chinese say, “the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself”. Kayla couldn’t exactly figure it out when this change began. She thought back to the time when their first grandchild was born and her son told her that they would no longer be eating at their home. After that, there were more grandchildren, thank God, and they stopped coming to their home except maybe once or twice a year. There were always different reasons for this but the result was that there were no more holiday meals with the family, no children and no grandchildren.
Yisrael and Kayla tried to go to their children’s home for holidays a few times but they started so very late that both grandparents and grandchildren were falling or had already fallen asleep. Yisrael and Kayla decided that it was very important to have a good relationship with their grandchildren so they came every week to their home to see them, to play with them and to talk to them. This was a big blessing for Yisrael and Kayla and for their grandchildren too. However, Kayla still felt sad around the holidays, when everyone was getting ready to be together with their families to share stories, jokes, songs, food, prayers and games.
Kayla and Yisrael had many friends who invited them to their holiday meals and oftentimes they would invite people to their home. Kayla was always happy to see her friends celebrating with their children and grandchildren. She hoped and prayed that someday she and Yisrael would also be able to share holidays with their children and grandchildren at their home. They were getting older and sometimes Kayla would think that, “My grandchildren will never taste my chicken soup, my rosemary chicken, my sweet noodle koogle or my chocolate applesauce cake. I will never bake with my granddaughters or sing the tunes from the Passover Seder that I learned from my Bubie and Zada.” When Kayla thought about these things she became sad.
So what do you think Kayla did to stop feeling sad? What would you do to stop feeling sad? Kayla always tried to count her blessings. Remember the teaching that the cure is created before the disease? Maybe the solution to a problem is created before the problem? Maybe there will come a time when Kayla and Yisrael will be together with their children and grandchildren during holidays? Kayla didn’t know what would happen in the future, no one does but Hashem, but she hoped and even sometimes prayed that the time would come. Whenever Kayla was with her grandchildren she felt so happy. It made the sadness disappear. “If I could take the moments that I have with my grandchildren and put them in a place in my memory and bring them up when I am sad, I think that I could stop being sad,” thought Kayla. She often thought about holidays with her Bubie and Zada and the whole family together and that too made her forget about being sad.
There are so many challenges that people have in their lives. For Kayla, they were both in her body and in her “heart”. She knew that the best way to try to be happy was to always count the blessings you have and to believe that what makes you sad may someday go away. Kayla told people that she felt that her life was in many ways beautiful. She and Yisrael loved each other very much, they had children and grandchildren and many wonderful friends and of course they lived in the miraculous land of Israel where everyday something happened to surprise them.
To be bored is really a curse in life and that is one promise Kayla had made to Yisrael when they were married, “I promise you, you will never be bored. Life is an adventure, like a ride in an amusement park and there are the highs and the lows.” Kayla gave everyone a blessing that the lows would not stay low and that the highs would be savored, remembered and appreciated so that we can overcome the sadness that sometimes comes into all of our lives. Kayla and Yisrael always had hope, this too shall pass!