Tuesday, 16 February 2016
It's something we should all be doing. It's something we all say we'd all like to do more of. Really - it's something we need to have! But at the same time, it's something we so often lack the ability to do. We see another hurting - or going through a hard time, and we want to know the best way of helping them. Very often we might even misunderstand what the other is feeling or why we can't seem to get things right in helping them. They seem sheltered and often can't seem to get out of the trouble they find themselves in. What can we do to help? How can we help?
This beautiful and meaningful clip shares a story that we can all internalise and use in practice. It's the story about a pit bull that found herself abandoned. Brought in to Granite Hills Animal Care (see full article here) Dr Andy Mathis did not know what to do with the sick looking animal. Would putting it to sleep be the solution (as so many of us think when we see another in distress too(!)) or could he do something to save the animal's life? After much consideration the doctor thought up a plan! As the animal was not eating, he entered the cage together with her, prepared for himself his own meal in similar looking crockery - and ate together with her. Once she saw him eating, she began to eat as well. It's really a simple story - with not much more needing to be added...
The sick animal is apparently doing much better already and it looks like she will recover from her ordeal.
That's really what empathy is all about. When the other is suffering, it is not enough to offer, to suggest ideas, to even present "practical" alternatives. What it takes - is getting into the cage with the other, truly experiencing what they are going through, and then showing them a way out. In this way, everyone stands to gain. The other will value the kindness, follow on - and succeed, getting out of the rut holding them back from getting on with whatever they should be getting on with. As for the helper - they gain in becoming just that more sensitive, that much more honoured and respected - and no doubt will feel a tremendous sense of joy at helping the other to get well again!
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Here's a story about life - the one in the video below of course! It's also about hope. We need to learn these important lessons - how we must look out and see the other. So often we just don't care. We have our own preconceived ideas about what the other must be - perhaps just because of the way he looks.
Strange - it's that person - the one who looks so different, who knows best what his true value really is. He's often around sharing it - but usually only to himself, because who else is really interested in listening?! But maybe he has a brother - maybe he is someone's brother - maybe your own! Even if he isn't, he too has a wealth of uniqueness he'd just so much like to give the world - if of course anyone is interested. Most of us go about our day to day's activities barely noticing those who lack. We need to realise how much talent the other may have - if only we give them a chance. Are we willing to?! Would we pay them so that they can actually live - so that they can share their talent? Or are we perhaps saving up for the next in smartphone technology - while the other barely has another person to even talk to... Are we done with purchasing two homes already and investing in the third - while the other must live in the streets - homeless? Do we actually care?!
It's a mixed up world where truly - those who appear to be on the top, may well be on the bottom, and those who look like they are on the bottom, are quite often - well on top! We need to see the soul inside the body. We need to value the other - as we value ourselves - and give them the opportunity to be the person they so much want to. If they need support - then we must do everything we can so that they they can live with us - with the goodness we have in our own lives - wishing for them the same things we wish for ourselves - valuing their money as we do our own... When we do - we will see just how much of difference they will make in our own lives too.
Thursday, 4 February 2016
Yesterday saw another day that reminded me about the important things in life. It reminded me that every person - no matter what their age - is deserving of (and in so many cases really does want) meaningful company in their lives. I'm not of course talking about having a dog, cat, bird or goldfish to keep one company. I'm talking about living life with a person of the opposite sex. The type of person one actually wants to be married to and spend the remainder of one's life with. That old cliche which seems to dominate the Big Screen - when the pretty young lady holds her boyfriend's hand - looking deeply into his eyes and then says, "Oh Dan, I want to grow old with you," is just one aspect of love, meaning and companionship.
Today - let us not forget, we don't always merit to spend an entire life - growing old - with the person we had hoped to love forever when we were young. In fact, for many, it's when they are already much older - having grown older - that that companionship is still so much needed.
The Jewish world is facing another crises. It's not just about the 18 year old girls and guys trying to find that someone special. It's also about those who have moved on to becoming granny's - that are searching - once again - for someone special. They too have many years of good life left - and they too want to spend those years - most usually - with someone as mature as they are - enjoying the Autumn years and onward. And why not?! It is no good for anyone to be alone - for so many reasons.
We've offered a Shidduch service assisting serious-singles (only) to meet someone special and get married. We don't deal with people like computers - you know what I mean - age, height, what do you want, and what's your favourite colour - and what's your favourite dog name? You know - because everyone thinks that it's just these things that make one compatible to the other. Then you get added to a database for everyone to look you up by entering the "right variables" to find the other. The pictures are outdated, done when the person just happened to look just right(!) though they simply don't look this way any longer, or perhaps even include a photo of their best friend - because they look better! We're not computers. We're real people. We tell the story as it is. We're dealing with real people - with real feelings.
What has amazed us is the amount of ladies - in particular - above the ages of 50, 60, 70 and even 80(!) who have joined telling us how much they still want that companionship; how much they want a family - even if it's a mixture of theirs and another's. It's often heartbreaking so see just how special they are - and wonder if one can find someone compatible - at that age!
The men join too - don't get me wrong. But who are they looking for? They're successful, often with their own families from previous marriages (sic) and are looking for more of the same - as things once were. They're not looking for the continuation of life - as these special ladies are. They're looking to go back to being the young men they were before - with the young ladies. Only difference being - they are much older. Of course - if it's companionship and love they want - there are some awesome, brilliant, successful and special ladies in their own age range - and they'll be only too happy to meet.
It's really hard for us to try and make matches with age differences of close to 30 years at times(!) though if that's what they want and feel will be successful, we try to keep our eyes open for those people too. It would be appreciated if they valued just how hard it is for anyone to match a 70 year old man with a 35 year old woman who works out regularly - and is in great shape, is interested in having children and a big family and who also just so happens to want to marry a man close to - if not - double her age. Personally, I want everyone to succeed. I just wish we could find more elderly men prepared to meet the more mature women too.
As we interviewed someone just like this yesterday, I felt myself at a loss again. Here is a successful woman - modest, loves Torah, loves life, loves her family - and more - the Jewish family concept itself. I want to do everything to find someone for her - even though it seems so very different to finding a young 20 year old guy for an 18 year old girl. I can't imagine the Torah way of thinking is any different. We're here to help each other. Living as a single - when one wants a proper Torah lifestyle - is practically impossible. Everyone is entitled to find happiness in marriage - no matter what their age. Let us not forget that those who many have loved and lost - are no less important to the Shidduch crises - than those who are just starting their lives and families anew.
I guess I'm here to tell you that we're still looking for those special "older men" prepared to meet ladies closer to their age. I'm here to tell you that we have some truly wonderful ladies in every respect wanting to make a new home. Most of all - if you're reading this post, I'm here to tell you to please be in touch with me if you know anyone in the observant Jewish community in their 60's and 70's and even beyond - still interested in spending the rest of their years in this world with the company of another special person. Let's make it clear. Our service is a professional one. Please don't waste your time sending in a one page CV stating your age and education. It just won't do. We put hours into each person we meet - and we hope you'll value our efforts.
Every interview I do makes me just that more sensitive in realising how much we all need company - and just how deserving we all are to have it. Every person has much to give - and every person has so much they need too. Let us - together - try to make happy homes for those who may even have had homes before - as much as we assist those just starting!