Several years ago my rabbi traveled back from a conference in California and brought me a CD and a book of music by Debbie Friedman. I listened to it and was not really moved by it. I put the CD in a drawer with the rest of my older CD’s and forgot about it. A couple of years later I was looking for some new music to increase my repertoire and came across Debbie’s CD. I had completely forgotten about it. I played it while I was doing some housework and it grabbed me. I left what I was doing and started to type out the words of four of the songs that really impressed me.
I have always loved how life happens. Sometimes things come our way and we step in and sometimes we choose to walk away. On this particular day, I chose to step in. One day, a friend from Toronto and Israel told me that his mother was being admitted into Maimonides. I could see his concern because he wouldn’t be here to see her much. Thank God for his sister. I asked him if he would like me to go and visit her from time to time.
One of my very best friends, Miriam, has written a book – a tale of love, grief and joy – and I am so very proud of her! Many of us have ideas and dreams about things that we would like to do, but very few of us really take the first step to accomplish it. Her book, “Clover’s Ark”, is the story of a quest, a pilgrimage in the spirit of “Narnia”, and is absolutely delightful! Clover Rabbit receives a call from The Ancient of Days to embark upon a journey without knowing his destination, a little like Abram in Torah. After consulting with Sam Rabbit, off he goes with his best friend, Tom Squirrel.
A musical animator doesn’t only sing and play an instrument. To animate means “to bring to life” and one cannot bring others to see life as hopeful and interesting unless they themselves see life that way and this needs to come from deep within. My journey toward doing exactly what I’m doing today has been a long and difficult one but also a very exciting one.
I believe that we cannot experience the intense joy that life has to offer unless we have also experienced the deep darkness of despair and made it through. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
What I find particularly exciting is that there is no age limit to finding one’s purpose in life and when we do, no matter how large or small, we are fulfilled. Some are late bloomers and find it only in their latter years. The problem is that many people lose hope; they not only give up on themselves but also on life. Life is a gift to be opened each and every day. Our lives touch others and each one of us is important in the grand scheme of things.
It’s more than 50 years ago now but I can still remember standing outside the doctor’s office looking down at his prescription in my hand to help me with the pain in my stomach. He said it came from stress. He himself however, was grossly overweight and kept nodding off while he wrote the prescription. I was only 17 yet I stood outside his office thinking, “He can’t even help himself so how can he help me?” So I tore it up and began my search into the realm of alternative therapies.