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December 11, 2016: Knowing the Future but Living the Present

My daughter Miriam spoke on Shabbat about her mother. My son Yedidya’s Bar Mitzvah was earlier in the week. These were her remarks:

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At his Bar Mitzvah, Yedidya talked about the importance of looking ahead and planning for the future. But he also spoke about living in the current moment.

Not just worrying about what will be but enjoying the present.

Before my mother passed away there are two things she did.

Two more decisions she had made that represent perfectly this exact ideal.

She refused to pass away during the week of Yedidya’s birthday and have his birthday always burdened and saddened by the fact that it was mixed together with the anniversary of her passing. This was her planning ahead, looking out for his future. She knew how much this one week difference could drastically impact Yedidya and was always looking out for him.

Even when she was dying, she was looking ahead to the many years to come, including his bar mitzvah.

And so she made the seemingly impossible decision to hold on a little longer. And she did it.

The second thing she wanted might sound silly, cute and not very important, but to me it represented so much more.

She wanted to know who would win Master Chef Junior. This was a tv show that her and Yedidya would watch every week. Every time a new episode would come out Yedidya would bring the Ipad up to my parents’ room and lie down with my mom to watch the latest episode. Sometimes I or someone else in the family would join, but this was mostly Yedidya and my mom’s thing. Master chef wasn’t only a really good, funny tv series, it also represented the here and now.

Quality time with her kids. No matter what was going on, how hard the situation was, watching these episodes was nonnegotiable. She was going to enjoy the present, no matter what the future held. A lesson we could all learn from. She loved watching it with Yedidya and was going to continue, during the best and the worst life had to offer. She continued living until the very end.

Worry about the future and plan accordingly, it could make all the difference. Don’t just think that whatever happens will happen, and I’m not going to be able to change it so why bother trying at all.

You can’t control everything, a lot is unknown. However that’s no excuse not to try making life better, whether it’s your own or the people you love. You can always make a difference — and a big one at that. Take your life into your hands. Even though we aren’t all superhuman like my mother and probably can’t make the same level decisions .

However remember what else is important. The time we have now. Enjoy moments, don’t let the difficulties and struggles that life hands you take over living every minute of everyday, no matter how trivial day to day tasks seem when something much larger is looming over.

So watch that tv show, walk the dog, go to the movies or whatever else you’d like to do because that’s what living is and in the long run, it’ll make all the difference.

Life doesn’t stop when things get hard. Neither should you.

Miriam Frankl, Neve Daniel

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