You know the saying that it takes a village to raise a child? It takes a village to do many other things as well, including put on a simcha. My village, my community, enabled me to pull of the barmitzvah of the decade. (In my opinion). No one can do everything alone, even control freaks like me.
There have been many people who helped me pull this together. But not by telling me what to do, but by gently advising on what worked when they made a simcha.
In my old age I have learned that there is nothing wrong with asking for help or delegating. And when you have laryngitis the week of a simcha you NEED to ask for help and delegate or nothing will happen.
I have to tell you something about this community of mine. Yes, there are times when the ultra right wing factions drive me to distraction, and there are occurrences and opinions that leave me baffled and confused. But, with all of that, there is one common theme that unites this community – helping others. There are those who everyone knows that they are big baalei tzedakah, but there are many more who help quietly behind the scenes, wanting no recognition whatsoever.
The last few years have been very tough personally. There were some really rough times where if it hadn’t been for the wonderful people around me I would not have been able to stand tall at my son’s barmitzvah. They literally and figuratively propped me up until I was able to do it on my own. They took pride in my children as they did in theirs. They made themselves available to us night and day for as long as we needed. And I took them up on it many a time.
I look back and I know that without this amazing community and without G-d’s help there is no way this barmitzvah would have been such a success. There is no way that I would have been able to stand there greeting my guests, shining as if lit from within. There is no way I would have been able to plan the whole weekend, and pull it off without a hitch.
I said in a previous post that this Shabbat none of my self image issues were there. In a way, I look on this past weekend as a sort of rebirth for me. Everyone knows we went through tough times. Not many know how tough, but they can imagine. And for me to be there, happy and healthy and proud of the fine man my son has become, well it was a major cause for celebration in my book. I made it. I needed to say a Shehechyanu. I got here, despite all the odds stacked against me, I pulled through. I did not do it alone. My village raised me up, propped me up, and pulled me kicking and screaming at times to where I am now.
So thank you, wonderful people, for the abundant gifts that you have showered me with, and for the self knowledge you have forced me to accept – that I am a good person, that I am worth everything good in life. Thank you for the lessons you have taught my sons about going above and beyond. These are lessons that cannot be taught in books or classrooms. You guys are the epitome of what it means to be a good person. To help without expecting anything in return. I am proud to know you.