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.