Thank You for My Bigger Life
I was inspired by a deeply touching story I read in a blog this week (see below). The outcome was not just life, but a bigger life. Is it possible to come through the COVID-19 crisis with a bigger life?
While many people are struggling right now, I believe even more people are expanding. Expanding how they see themselves and their lives in the world. Expanding their compassion for the suffering. Expanding their courage. Expanding their knowledge. Expanding their vision of what is possible for the future.
In the absence of so much distraction, as the water settles, we can see more clearly what really matters. We can feel what is right for us and our lives.
We can ask ourselves, “Was the life I was living before COVID-19 satisfying?”
I’ve spent two weeks at a health center doing a water-only fast. As I prepare to head home, I can almost smell the flowers and plants in my garden under the beautiful Spring sun. I can see my family sitting in a circle sharing dinner on the porch with that glorious golden light of evening glowing on us. We go around the table and share the sweet moments of the day and acknowledge the interactions we’ve had with each other that day.
Just as the first piece of fruit I had after a fast tasted sweeter than ever, so will being back in the womb of our shelter-in-place with my family.
As the world begins to open up, carefully, cautiously, my hope is that the experiences we had come to take for granted will also smell, taste and feel sweeter than ever. Let’s take the time to savor it.
May we walk into the new world with bigger lives — more love, compassion, courage, determination, vision and gratitude,
P.S. Here is the inspiring story I mentioned by Hedy Schleifer, Master Relationship Builder.
“My husband isn’t ill. Humanity is ill.”
The year is 1942. The place is Nice in the South of France. These words were spoken by my mother. She and my father were in hiding in a cellar with 5 other Jewish people. They found out that the Nazis were coming into Nice. My mother engineered a plan. She would get out of hiding and go see a doctor. She told the doctor the following: “I have come to ask for your help. Could you sign a certificate that my husband is gravely ill and needs to be transported to a hospital in Cannes. Give us an ambulance, a driver, nurse’s uniforms so that we can escape.”
The doctor was a good man. He listened compassionately. And then he said: “I cannot give you the certificate you are asking for. I signed the Hyppocratic Oath and cannot lie about a patient. Your husband isn’t ill.”
And that is when my mother told him: “You are right, My husband isn’t ill. Humanity is ill. Seven people, me included, will die of the illness of humanity.”
The doctor now had an existential choice. He could remain in the small box of faithfulness to his oath. Or he could step into a vast expanse, where you love life so much that you are willing to sacrifice your own to save the life of another. And so he did.
In 1945 my mother wrote him a Christmas letter and sent him a picture: “We are alive. We have a little baby girl named Hedy. Thank you for our life!” And he wrote back: “Thank you for my bigger life!” After the ambulance adventure, he saved the lives of many Jewish people in the most creative ways.
Miri and Hedy 1945
P.P.S. Happy Mothers’ Day!!! This was the very first blog I wrote two years ago in tribute to my mom.
P.P.P.S. If you’ve been following my fasting journey, here is a video that sums up my last few days of fasting and then the process of eating again.
Barbara’s Fasting Journey Days 8–13