Gratitude

I am writing from my friend and colleague Sunita’s house. It is almost midnight, after a very long day of rehearsals.

I was in Tel Aviv and didn’t feel like leaving yet. None of my friends were available to meet, so I decided to take myself to the movies. The only one available at the hour I arrived was a documentary called “The Funeral Group”, surrounding the lives of a group of senior citizens who meet every week at Theodore Herzls grave in the national cememtary in Jerusalem. The film follows their lives, and their concerns and their loves – coming to terms with their gains and their losses… many of them holocaust survivors. It was quite a beautiful story… made me think alot about the value of life.

Leaving the center out onto King George Street, I stopped for a quick bite to eat at the noodles place. Eating my vegetable pad thai outside, I watched humanity pass me by on the street. There was a guy close by lying on two pieces of cardboard… hand stretched out, asking for alms. At one point, a man tapped him on the shoulder. The guy got up and they spoke. It was amazing to watch the shift in his demeanor. He had a real presence about him. I was moved to write him a note.. On the paper cover of my chopsticks I wrote… “My gift to you today is to invite you to dare discover what your unique gifts are and begin to give them away. This will bring you happiness health and wealth.” I finished my food, got up, placed it in his hand and moved on. I felt myself being used as an instrument. I crossed the street looked back. The man had sat up and was reading the note. It looked like he was contemplating.

It brought me to contemplation on relationship. I was feeling very moved by the film. Wondering about my own life. Feeling disconnected from my brother whom I love very much but with whom I hear very seldom. It saddens me. I would like to know him more… always have. My earlier life was spent running after him, until I discovered that this only pushed him away even more.

“Why don’t I call him?” I thought to myself… instead of staying away. Immediately a pang of pain arose… I don’t like being the one to always initiate our communication. Isn’t he interested in me? Does he not care? I stopped myself in mid thought… changing the peptides in my brain.

Suddenly a wave of calm washed through my innards… I accept life on life’s terms, I heard myself say in silence, without expressing it in words. I began to think about all the things I am grateful for. I thought about how grateful I am to have a brother who is happy with what he does. Accepting what IS instead of what I expect, makes things so much more comfortable.

I thought about this entire week. How grateful I am to have so many friends upon who I can count, and stay with upon a moment’s notice. “Express your gratitude immediately”, the inner voice said. “I’ll start with Sunita”. The cell phone rang. It was Sunita calling to see if I am staying with them this evening.

“I have just turned onto your street. I was just thinking about you…” I thanked her for her hospitality and expressed my appreciation for having her in my life.

What a blessing to have this computer at my disposal so that I can write this message before signing, taking a shower a going off to a grateful, slumbered sleep.

Amen.

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