Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This Is Hard?

I wanted to die. 

I can assure my audience that there are few things more unpleasant than being clenched in a fetal position on the floor of JFK, writhing in the agony that is a stomach virus.  

"Never . . . babysit . . . again . . . " I groaned, apportioning the blame to a niece who, whilst staying beneath the same roof, had arrived puking. 

As I lay twitching in the thankfully relatively clean public bathroom, moaning and wheezing like a dying animal, I was, oddly enough, suffering from major guilt as well. 

Earlier that week, I had been doing some research on my grandparents' experiences in the war.  

And that's all I kept thinking about: This is just some stupid stomach bug that'll be gone in 24 hours. They went through HELL. Actual hell, not just an inconvenient illness during an El Al flight.

I crawled on the plane and attempted to dope myself up with Dramamine, but I had insufficient water; it disintegrated and stung the back of my throat. I was surrounded by crying children. 

"They . . . went . . . through . . . worse . . ." I gritted my teeth. I knew that all I had to do was hold out for a day, and then I'd be fine, complete with a glowing, freshly detoxed complexion. 

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman made me feel a little better. He told over this story: His wife, a morah, asked her class to write down their ancestors' mesiras nefesh. Whether they quit their job every Friday, or were survivors, the girls were scribbling away.  

Then she asked the class to flip over the paper, and relate their own mesiras nefesh. The girls stared at the white expanse of paper, unable to fill it in. 

The Eibishter knows that we are in, bless Him, a wonderful time where we are not so tested. But even in our times, however, we can have mesiras nefesh, even if it can't remotely equate with that of our Babis and Zeidies. 

"Ooooooh . . . kill . . . me . . ." I groan into my stale-smelling airline pillow. Nope, still a wuss.

7 comments:

FrumGeek said...

My grandmother would always tell me "You Yankee, (not my name, but what she called Americans) you wouldn't have lasted a day!"

Enjoy Israel!

tesyaa said...

I don't think people can know their own strength until they are in a situation where they really need it.

Not to compare, but my father who grew up in the 20s and 30s in Brooklyn, basically thinks only wimps turn on the AC. (At least he did when we were kids.)

Princess Lea said...

FG: This happened a while back. I'm still in the States. :P

tesyaa: I wrote about that previously, referencing Maria Belon who survived the tsunami. We have strength, and we should be able to access it now.

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

My mother used this line on me when I was a kid: "You know, I went through a war..."

Princess Lea said...

MGI: Can't really defy that line, can you?

Tovah11 said...

That sounds so awful. I love how you just kept trying to tell yourself that people had it so much harder than this.

Princess Lea said...

That's what my mother said about childbirth. "Otherpeoplehavedonethisotherpeoplehavedonethisotherpeoplehavedonethis . . ."