Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our belief is that on this day of Yom Kippur our names inscribed in the Book of Life for next year - I did not believe that it would be this way

Hopefully, I have been writing about my life, observations and the world around I live in with an awareness of what was, a sense of what is and thoughts, hopes and wishes for what may be. Life seemed to have been on an axis that I understood. The axis was like a scaffolding, erected on certain assumptions, constructed with familair materials and spiraling in certain predictable directions. Then events intervened and I realized that this is all an illusion and the axis can suddenly be transformed into a path into the unknown.

On Thursday afternoon my wife was in a serious car accident. She is alive. She did not lose consciousness. She did not sustain injuries to her head, spine, nerves nor are there any indications of paralysis. The inflating air bag apparently saved her life. However, she did sustain a fracture in each leg below the knee and a fracture in her hip. She is hospitalized in Hillel Yaffe hospital in nearby Hadera.

Her mood seems good given the trauma that her body and psyche have endured. She has been sleeping alot and that seems positive. She is lucid and focused when she talks and that is reassuring. She faces a fairly long recuperating period and that is scary for her and for us, her family, as well.

I have tried to think what does this mean in terms of Yom Kippur. Thank God that she is inscribed in the Book of Life. I feel as though the inscribing hand almost slipped and, thank God, suddenly righted itself at the last second. We talked about driving. It is such an automatic and common activity which suddenly seems as though it is an act of dangerous dimensions, bordering on risk and yet we have to continue. Things seem more vulnerable than I had thought that they were, including the axis of our individual and collective lives.

I am a bit ashamed to realize that an incident like this, a near fatal expereince for my wife, is what jars me into realizing just how precious it is to continue life and maintain that scaffolding that we call our personal and collective narrative.

I have fasted on Yom Kippur since my early 20's. I go to services and say the prayers. Maybe this year I will say them differently and think about them more than I ever have before? I am sure that when I say ברכת הגומל this year, I will have an understanding that I never had before.

I mentionned that my wife is in Hillel Yaffe hospital. That is also her place of work as a social worker. I have some acquaintance with the hospital as my wife worked there before we went to the US and also because people in my family, including myself, have been there for very short periods of time. However, now I am seeing it daily with the perspective of someone who was in the US for the last three eyars and also as someone who expects to visit daily for the immediate future.

The hospital reflects some of the complex realities of Israel. It is not the hospital that Israeli medical authorities would choose to show to high ranking delegations inspecting the top level medcial care in Israel.

They work hard to keep it clean, but it is dingy. The building is showing its age. There is a new building next door which is supposed to house the hospital, but it has stood uncompleted for several years becasue of lack of money. The staff is a real reflection of Israeli society. The medical staff seems to be about one third each Russian, native Israelis and Arab. From behind the nurse's station in the department you can hear Russian, Arabic and Hebrew as the common tongue. The staff is not only united in its dealing with the patients who reflect the same background, but also during the period of the Intifada they dealt with tens of victims and perpetrators of terrorist acts with the same medical conviction dominating their actions and outlook as I can see in their care taking of my wife.

I have also written alot about community of late. These are the moments when the kibbutz community star shines brightest. The concern of others, the allocating of resources to asist, the sense that even in a society where many do not pray, you are in their thoughts and prayers gives us the chance to focus on what is really important and not on arrangements and finances.

Tonight my son and I will go to prayer services on the kibbutz. I will write about that tomorrow. Our eldest daughter will stay with my wife in the hospital. It is not a good idea to drive on Yom Kippur. Every year there are stories of cars being stoned by religious zealots. The kibbutz actually locks up all of the car keys here.

May all of you have an easy fast, if you fast and a good and thoughtful day. May we all stop for a second to consider and appreciate what we so take for granted in the daily course of our lives.


No comments:

Post a Comment