I recently had a medical procedure done.
I had to have general anesthesia and spend the night in the hospital.
It wasn't anything major, but, any time you go under, you can't avoid being existential and think about the people you love, the mistakes you have made, and what if, what if…
When I kissed my children in the morning before the procedure, I didn't want to alarm them.
But I held each one very close and said,
“I love you. I love you so much. I love you just the way you are.”
I said it again and again.
So that God forbid if this was the last thing they ever heard me say, it would be me telling them 10 times that I love them, I love them just the way they are.
I arrived at the hospital and I was holding a prayer book in my hand.
Somehow it became super important. The nurse asked if I wanted to take the Bible into the OR.
My husband and I laughed.
I said, “Yes” and into a zip lock bag and under my pillow it went.
Amazing what solace the prayer book gave me.
To be honest, I didn't even see the OR.
I was out before I went in, and got up only when I was outside after the procedure. Let me tell you, the drugs today are wicked.
I wasn't in pain.
And I was surrounded with love and care.
Everything was fine.
Until it wasn't.
Something wasn't right.
After feeling fine and going home, I was back in the ER and then home again.
Then the ER, and finally, after a friend looked at me in the most worried look and begged me to take care, I found myself back in the hospital again.
I had two nurses.
Ironically one’s name was Faith, and the other was Hope.
I know it sounds crazy, and I thought that maybe I had a dream about this, or my imagination was working over time. But I checked, and seriously my nurses names where Faith and Hope!
They were sweet and gentle.
And when I had a full-blown panic attack, they collected my tears, held my fears, and were kind.
Faith and hope is what I needed, and exactly what I got with so much tender love and care. It was hard not to feel better.
I have a new appreciation for every nurse I know.
People say that I do God's work.
Well, I think that nurses are some kind of extension of the good of God.
My recovery was a little crazy, and up and down.
I had to ask for help.
People brought us food.
People schlepped my kids from here to there.
My siblings called again and again.
Oh, how lucky and grateful I am!
As things got back on track
I was e-mailing a colleague to ask for some advice. He answered with wisdom and without knowing what I just went through, he wrote me, “Know you are loved.”
Oh, how I know!
What a beautiful thing to say.
Know you are loved.
Everyone should feel that and know that.
We are starting a program in three new locations in the next few weeks.
I have an amazing new facilitator who will be teaching with me.
We have taken our work into the hood, deep into the hood.
In the hood you need tremendous faith to believe that change can and will happen.
You must be incredibly hopeful that the future holds good in it for you.
And love, well, you need so much love, because there is such a lack of it.
The nurse whose name was Faith stood by my side in the middle of the night and held my hand and said, “I'm here.”
I found myself looking at the eyes of the young woman in one of my new groups and saying exactly the same thing.
“I'm here and I'll be here every week.”
The nurse whose name was Hope stood outside my door and talked to me gently as I stubbornly insisted to use the WC by myself.
“You are a tough cookie,” she said.
“I will help you if you need me to.”
“I am right here. You are not alone.”
I say these same words to the girls.
“I am are here.
You are not alone.”
Hope, repeated to me as I cried,
“Ms. Ackerman I'm right here.”
And then I laughed.
I think you can call me Nomi. You are basically sitting with me when I pee.”
And then we both laughed as she held the IV and my shaking hand.
My worried husband, who was at home with the kids, couldn't sleep.
“You okay???” he whispers into the phone.
“Don't worry,” I said, “I have Faith and Hope.”
He thought I was still under the influence of the drugs.
“Faith, hope, love.
We have all of this for you,” I tell the girls.
“Now you need to have it for yourself.”
They don't know me yet.
They don't surrender as easily as I did to the nurses. They don't have to.
I have to earn their trust, as will my sweet new facilitator.
“How can you have faith in us, if you don't know us?”
I tell them about the hospital, about Faith and Hope.
“Well, they had to help you. It’s their job.”
“This is my job,” I say.
“We aren’t sick,” one says.
“No, you aren’t,” I say.
“But it’s always nice to be taken care of or have someone care about you.”
And I think of the fight I put up, not to stay in the hospital, not to stay in bed, not to be taken care of.
How silly of me. I should know better, so much better.
“You will choose, not now, in time,” I say.
I tell them again.
“I have faith.
I have hope.”
I don’t say it out loud because it’s not time yet, but, in my heart, I can already feel the love.
I hope you will all join us on October 21st for The Advot Project Garden Party.
To purchase tickets or to make a donation, please visit: https://advot-evening-garden-party.eventbrite.com
I have faith that if you can’t come, you will make a donation.
I wish you all an abundance of love and joy in your life today and every day