So, Mike has had a weird cold. It started with a slight sore throat last Sunday. He has not had any sneezing or runny nose, thankfully (OMG, the noises, the Kleenex). He has been coughing and ran a low grade fever Wednesday. By Thursday he was better and went for his chemo, no problem. The cough is worse again. He didn’t sleep well, and feels like hammered mulecrap today. He did call his doctor at Emory, and he didn’t think he needed to come in and be seen, so he will continue symptomatic treatment (tylenol, cough medicine, watermelon, rest).
Oh, and Mike and Judy went to temple last night. Rabbi Holtz had invited them on the occasion of their wedding anniversary (24) to have their marriage blessed. In fact, their marriage has always been blessed, but it was a very nice gesture, and it meant a lot to Mike and Judy. They had dinner before the service with their good friends, Norm and Nancy, who also came for the service. Norm was Mike’s best man at the wedding. Rabbi Winokur and his wife Donnie, were there as well. Rabbi Winokur had officiated at the wedding, and he participated in the blessing last night. Other friends were there as well. Mike often talks about the importance of having a spiritual home. Life is best lived as part of a community. This includes temple, church, neighborhood, support groups, service organizations, work, and family, including cats, of course. If you want to have a dog that’s okay too.
Rabbi Holtz gave a sermon about the weekly Torah portion in which they read about Moses sending spies into Canaan to find out what the land and its people were like. The spies were leaders from each of the 12 tribes. When they returned with their report 10 of them had crapped their pants, so to speak. They said the locals were giants, like Nephilim. Nephilim are not well described in the Torah but they seem to be mythological beasts, half-human and half demon. It was because of this incident that the Israelites had to wander in the desert another 38 years. They just were not up to the challenge in any way. Mike had heard the old story that they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before they arrived at the promised land because Moses was too stubborn to ask for directions. Apparently, not so. The rabbi’s point in his sermon was that the episode of the spies was more a journey of self-discovery than anything else. These were people who had been subjugated in Egypt for over 400 years. Suddenly they found themselves in the wilderness with little sense of purpose or hope, and little inner strength to draw on. Their leader says God will save them and take them to the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. But they are not so sure. Maybe Egypt wasn’t so bad. Mike likes to talk about the Heroes Quest, in which the hero of the story faces a seemingly impossible challenge, tries to get out of it, is promised spiritual aid if he accepts the challenge, accepts the challenge, completes his adventure successfully, and returns home with whatever bounty he has achieved on his way. But the journey is as much an interior one as exterior. The self-knowledge, self-esteem, and spiritual awareness that he gains are what form the basis for the rest of his success in life. Mike uses the Heroes Quest as a model for what we all face in life. In a real way, all of us are challenged in life by unexpected and unwelcome issues. What we gain when we face them is a new sense of purpose and meaning to our lives, and each person’s path and lesson is a little different. And we can’t do it alone. Life is best lived as a member of a supportive community. The community can’t do it for you, but they will care about you and give you the spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical support that you may need along the way. More about this another time.
And, speaking of heroes, it was 80 years ago yesterday that the New York Yankees announced the retirement of Lou Gehrig, based on his diagnosis and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Lou faced his disease with great dignity and courage, pronouncing himself in his farewell address to the fans at Yankee Stadium as “the luckiest man in the world.” It was his misfortune to be so famous and get such a rotten disease that they named it for him. But, he seems to have made the most of it.
So, that’s all for now from Happy Meadows. Be well, be safe, and have great adventures y’all!