Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Once Upon a December

On the Jewish calendar, this morning marked the morning I got up from Shiva 3 years ago. On the Gregorian calendar that happens tomorrow. It will hopefully mark the end of a period of intense self-reflection that I have gone through every December for the last 3 years. It is a time of emotionally reliving memories; both the incredibly painful ones, as well as happy ones. It is also a time of year for celebrating how far I have come and creating new happy memories.

2 years ago, I wrote a post about how December 31st would be a sad day for the rest of my life. Then this year, on December 31st, I found myself at a wedding for one of my cousins. I felt the love from the baalei simcha who have always been super caring towards me. At the family table I felt proud to be part of my family as the various family members connected the dots of my family tree. They could only see my family as a complete family because they were people I have been related to for my entire life or in 2 cases for their entire lives.

During this intense emotional time period, I couldn't help but to relate to the story of Yosef that is read during the same time of year. He went through tough times from the death of his mother as a young boy, to having his brother seeing him as a threat that sent him on the path to slavery and eventually jail. Through it all he managed to overcome every challenge rising to the 2nd most powerful person in all of Egypt. At the end of the journey, he saved his entire family. In the merit of overcoming such difficult challenges he did what only his father had done. His children would also be the heads of their own Shvatim (Tribes). His father's blessing to his children are the same blessing that father's give to their sons on Friday night.

Once the complete story is revealed to all, there is another angle that doesn't always get noticed. Yosef made every effort to show that he showed no ill will towards his brothers. Time and again we see that the brothers are skeptical that perhaps Yosef has been biding his time to take out his just payback. He could never truly unite his brothers into one cohesive family.

My life has changed so much over the last 3 years. I have changed so much during that time. I have made myself a better person. Although, technically I have a blended family, at its core, we are one cohesive unit.

With those around me, I often feel like I have the same struggles as Yosef. Some have accepted my family as a complete family and others haven't. Some see our family as Channah and I and then Peri and Shlomo, with a very clear divide, while others see us in varying permutations.  I find it very hard to relate to those who can't see my family as a single unit. The hardest is trying to figure out where I am holding with those who don't make it clear.  I also realize that in most cases the different permutations may be in part my fault.

Over the last number of weeks, I have seen clear examples of why I love this community so much. I have witnessed people reach the highest levels of chesed, while in the same breath have also seen the opposite, which saddens me to see.

I am looking forward to moving this summer to a new community who will only see my family as the complete unit that it is. I believe that it is a huge step to help in making our own happiness. A step to being accepted for who I am instead of what once was.

1 comment:

Laurie Glicklin said...

Beautifully said, Jason. You have come so far, but at your core, you are the same bright, caring, strong man that you have always been. With Peri at your side, you have created a beautiful family, and everything that both of you do shows the love and strength that you have for each other and for both of your children. I am proud to call you and Peri friends, and I will miss you when you move. However, I know that it is time that you and Peri move to create a better environment for your family to continue to grow and excel. Best wishes for good luck always.

Fondly, Laurie G. Sussman