Friday, February 6, 2009

Gratitude

Beth Am members might know a congregant of ours by the name of Aaron Kraselsky. Mr. Kraselsky is our oldest member (I forget his exact age, but I believe he's well into his 90's), and he's from Dothan, Alabama. Between his origin and his age, he maintains about him a stateliness which hard to describe, but which you'll recognize if you know him, or someone like him.

Like most people his age, Mr. Kraselsky suffers from a number of maladies (although his mind is still remarkably sharp). Due to some circulation trouble he's been fighting for a while, he recently got the news that the doctors need to amputate one of his legs, just below the knee. The surgery is scheduled for today (Friday), so I went to see him in the hospital yesterday.

All that he wanted to talk about was how lucky he was, and how happy he was. A wife he loves and adores until this day. Doting, loving children. 20 grandchildren. Great-grandchildren. A long life, filled with blessing and happiness.

He lays there, in his hospital bed, waiting for a doctor to remove his leg, and all he can do is offer a litany of hapiness and blessing in his life. As I often do after visiting him, I felt somewhat ashamed of my own complaints. We should all feel as lucky as he does.

I asked him if he minded me sharing some of this with others - he was almost surprised I'd ask. "Of course not! Tell everyone." A gift to all of us, from someone who has so many, and is aware of each and every one.

Shabbat Shalom

2 comments:

Deanna O. said...

Thank you for sharing this with the congregation.

c said...

It's all about perspective. Most people only think about giving thanks maybe once a year (around Thanksgiving) but it's really important to be thankful for the little things in your life too (like health, happiness, and loved ones) as frequently as possible. To keep perspective about one's life, even when times are tough, there are ALWAYS things for which one can be grateful. It is hard to live life "in the moment" sometimes, but it makes every action you take that much more meaningful. Nothing is taken for granted.