Riding With Shema
Some years ago, I knew a young boy who was eager to spread love and find life, even though he was at the end of his. He had had cancer for six of his nine years. In the hospital, I took one look at him and knew he was finished fighting. He had just had it. He had accepted the reality of his death. I stopped by to say good-bye the day he was going home. To my surprise, he asked me to go home with him. When I tried to sneak a peak at my watch, he assured me that it would not take long.
And so we drove into his driveway and parked. He told his father to take down his bicycle, which had been hanging in the garage, unused, for three years. His biggest dream was to ride around the block once – he had never been able to do that. He asked his father to put the training wheels on his bicycle. That takes a lot of courage for a little boy to do: it’s humiliating to be seen with training wheels when your peers are popping wheelies and performing tricks with their bikes. With tears in his eyes, the father did so.
Then the boy looked at me and said, “Your job is to hold my mom back.”
You know how moms are, they want to protect you all the time. She wanted to hold him up all the way around the block, but that would cheat him out of his great victory. His mother understood. She knew that one of the last things she could do for her son was to refrain, out of love, from hovering over him as he undertook his last, great challenge.
We waited as he rode off. It seemed like an eternity. Then he came around the corner, barely able to balance. But he rode up to us beaming.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – Life Lessons
“You shall teach them thoroughly to your children and you shall speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way…”
There are times in my life when the ‘way’ I must walk is overwhelming and frightening. I wish that God would hold me up as I walk.
The story of this young boy taught me that whether walking or riding a bike, the next step is a challenge I must meet on my own, taking the Torah’s teachings with me. Each step is a statement that I use these teachings to live and move forward, facing the future with courage.
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