A reality check

Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh received a B.A. from Skidmore College and was ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is fortunate to be involved in so many facets of the community including serving as the chaplain for JF&CS and an instructor for CAJE. This will be her fifth year serving as the visiting Rabbi in Decatur, Ill. She has also served congregations in both Sydney and Perth, Australia. When not writing her weekly BLOGS, she can be found running marathons.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

One morning I was mentioning to my husband that wouldn’t it be nice if he began some “minor” improvements to our kitchen. As long as he was at

it, I thought “we” could redo our bathroom and extend the closet space. The list was about to grow longer but he dashed out the door to take our son to school.

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He probably didn’t think twice about it but mid-way through the morning I had envisioned an entire new layout. Maybe it would be easier to move? Wouldn’t more space be helpful?

That afternoon while visiting a resident, I was carefully looking around her room. She had a wedding photo framed on the wall and a couple of paintings from a great-grandchild. The furniture belonged to the facility and even the bedspread was not hers. She used towels similar to ones found in a motel. She had told me that all she had was given away by her children. She missed the furniture she and her husband of 59 years had saved for and purchased together. She wondered what had happened to her grandmother’s dishes or all of her clothing. Only a small amount hung in her tiny closet.

As I drove home, I realized how fortunate I am that no one has sold, stored or given away my belongings. I walked through my house that evening lovingly touching my son’s art projects, admiring favorite vases and appreciating my many choices of clothing.

We seem to walk through life collecting only for someone to one day distribute. Where we find value and comfort often speaks to who we are and the journeys we have travelled. No one remembers the stories like we do or the sacrifices made to bring comfort to the home.

I walked through the house again this morning. It looks pretty good to me.