The long path to recovery

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

As I made my way walking/jogging around Creve Coeur Lake recently, I was caught between two conflicting emotions. On one hand, I was reveling in success that I had repeated walking jogging the entire 5.5 miles around the lake. And then I drained my overflowing cup as I realized in my recent memory, I had run around the lake three to four times in one outing. My emotions were at a tug-of-war and I was not sure whether to rejoice or cry.

Just a short time ago I was in an ICU room dependent upon oxygen. I had tubes in my lungs draining unwanted substance. The fact that I was moving non-stop was a miracle! Yet, why did I even question my success? Why did I even allow myself to lose the sense of excitement I was feeling? This was a moment to celebrate!

Since my release from the hospital and return to St. Louis, I have found myself in a general state of euphoria for life and people. I repeatedly acknowledge my sense of gratitude for being alive and for the individuals and families who have physically and metaphorically held my hand during this rough journey to wholeness. How dare I even question “what was” my physical ability compared to now? After all, it was the running that helped conditioned me to pull through and heal.

When should what we have just be enough? Good question, rabbi. Since that morning, I have since enjoyed equal successes, greater ones, and some challenges. The difference is, I have remained in the moment and embraced what is.