I had a bit of a health scare over the past few months that thankfully has turned out to be much ado about nothing. The details of the events are not at all important (please don't pester me) and most of the anxiety that I was experiencing came almost entirely from my own neuroses and had nothing to do with anything that my doctor or any other medical professional said or implied by their actions. The good news that all is well was finally confirmed yesterday and that palpable exhale you all probably heard was coming from the west end of downtown Toronto.
But...for three months, I have been sitting on shpilkes. (It's a Yiddish term meant to connote fretfulness. It literally means pins and needles.) I did find outlets for my nervousness. I learned to make macarons. Really. I did. I exercised until my legs fell off. I watched Netflix and The Food Network and more baking shows than I can count. The Husband has been really great at trying to calm my apprehensions. I chose not to share this potential problem with anybody but him and I'm sure I wore him down to his last nerve with my constant need for positive validation. His steadiness is something on which I have relied for decades but when one is thrust into uncertainty it plays on all the ballast that one can muster.
And hence the reason for this post.
It occurred to me yesterday after the "all clear" was given, that there were times during these past months whereby my patience or my ability to process complex thoughts has been laid threadbare. I know that I have been short with friends and loved ones and believe me, I never meant any disrespect or harm. It is just that when people are going through silent pain, it isn't always obvious to those around them. We don't always share our difficulties and exhaustion sometimes takes over. We become strange mysteries to those who should be our closest confidants but because of our need for privacy or independent process, we shut them out. It may not always be fair but it is honest.
We tend to see people as they present themselves to us; the facades that they choose to show the world. We rarely delve deeper either because we simply don't think about it or we choose not to ingratiate ourselves into other people's problems. We really don't understand that maybe they haven't slept in days or that perhaps they are dealing with some problem at work or at home that is just eating away at their goodwill. Maybe the baby is going through something or maybe an ageing parent is a concern. Perhaps they are still grieving or perhaps there are money concerns. That woman in the car honking may have had a gruesome day at the office or that man pushing ahead on the subway may have just received a frantic call from his child's caregiver. We coexist with others but we rarely put ourselves in their shoes.
The world can seem like an incredibly selfish and impersonal place these days. I realize that none of my friends or family could have possibly understood the reasons for my even shorter than usual temper or my overwhelming exhaustion or even my exasperation at simple comments. That sense of being insular is on me. But if I have learned anything through this process is that we are all going through something. A bit of compassion goes a long way even if you aren't aware of anything untoward.
And to those whom I might have pissed off or offended during my three-month-long brain fart, I am truly sorry. I'll do better. I promise.
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, ha-gomel l’chayavim tovim she-g’malani kol tuv.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the world, who rewards the undeserving with goodness,
and who has rewarded me with goodness.