It has been a very stressful few weeks.
My middle daughter graduated from elementary school.
There was a dance recital.
My oldest daughter’s bat mitzvah is approaching.
Final reports are due to funders.
It is the all-around end of the year madness.
The horrific shootings in Tel Aviv and then Orlando.
And then, to top it off, we were told that we must move out of our apartment in three months, the move falls on the first day of the Jewish New Year !
I don't think I have ever experienced this kind of stress.
It is physical. I can feel it in my gut.
On Friday nights, before we like the Sabbath candles, I always sing a special song. It is by a well known Israeli poet, Bialik, and is called Hachama Merosh.
It talks about the Sabbath queen coming down from the sky.
It reminds me of my mom, who truly was like the Sabbath queen.
I have been singing the song regularly for years right before we light the candles. My children rarely join me, and then just like that, last Friday, they must have sensed that I was on edge. I lit the match for the candles and all three of them in the sweetest of voices started to sing my beautiful song.
And, just like that, my mother’s spirit joined us in the room that night.
Today was the final presentation for the group in Juvie that I have been working with for the last 12 weeks.
If you had talked to me last week, I would have been very skeptical that it would turn out well, or turn out at all .
We really had nothing in place and, I was worried.
In addition, there are all these new rules and regulations that probation has imposed on me in order to clear the guests to come to see the show.
This was oil to the fire of my stress.
A few people were denied clearance. Others had Social Security numbers that were wrong. There were countless emails going back and forth and then, just like that, the majority of the list was cleared, and everyone was okay and almost everyone showed up.
I picked up one of my graduates on the way to the rehearsal yesterday. I have successfully connected her with a mentor, a sweet college intern that is starting to work for Advot next year. And just like that, the graduate of my program now is being taken care of. She has someone helping her put her resume together and figure out her next steps.
When I got to the facility it was late. I was so worried and, to be honest, plain panicked. And just like that, my Juvie girls stepped up and in the five hours that we rehearsed, they behaved, they acted and we figured it out.
I think this show was a good one.
This has not been easy year. Probation has given me a hard time. I expanded the program, and the new facility has not been supportive or kind.
Keeping a nonprofit above water is like trying to lose weight while working in a pie shop. You need a lot of will power and commitment to your goal.
Lately I've been having existential questions regarding what I'm doing, my purpose and all together feeling like this is all just too much.
And then just like that,
I stood in the gym at the performance today and I looked at these seven beautiful girls’ faces. I listened to them singing
I'm that star up in the sky.
I'm that mountain peak up high.
Hey, I made it. Hmm…
I'm the world’s greatest.
I'm that little bit of hope.
When my back's against the ropes,
I can feel it. Hmm...
I'm the world’s greatest.
And, just like that, my heart opened, and the knot in my stomach loosened .
My work is hard, and this year it was especially hard.
But my rewards are the moments of song, the moments of joy, the moments of gentleness and the moments of change.
Ahhhhh, the remarkable moments of change…
Where the shy one speaks,
The tough one softens,
And the sad one smiles.
These are the moments I have the great fortune to witness, and then share with you.
SO, thank you for reading, and being on this journey with me.
Because, we all matter. You all matter to me.
I will be taking a break for the summer and will be back in the fall.
Have the best of vacations.
Swim in the ocean
Have fun in the sun.
Love, simply love.
And please remember, that even in the most stressful of weeks and the most trying of times, everything can turnaround, just like that !