Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quality of life

My Wednesday Rabbi stated yesterday that miracles aren't affective anymore because they wear off. That one cannot rely on miracles alone for faith- we forget too easily the fortunes we carry in our pockets.

In hearing this, guilt flickered in my heart. He was right. At the same time, I felt that guilt because I needed a few miracles to inspire me to get me where I am standing right now. I needed them in the form of vivid dreams, in the form of the organization that helped me when I first started out here, in the form of friends, family, work visa's, conversion approval from the Bet Din in Jerusalem, and general sanity during tough times. But he's right, miracles are easily forgotten. Especially here. And if my biggest miracle in Thailand was making it to the toilet after a spicy meal, miracles around these part far exceed the miracle norm.

Oft times before I go to bed, I think about some place in the U.S, where the same postmaster has had the post office open for twenty years and there are oak trees and flower beds lining the streets. I think of the team of children I cart around in my mini van to the house with the wrap around porch and the mutt of a dog that we adopted from the pound. I don't have that, but obviously never wanted it- not in that form.

There was a man who was a quadriplegic. He kept returning to the hospital every couple months with acute pneumonia. He couldn't move, except for his mouth, which, by breathing through a device, moved the wheelchair for him. After many bouts of pneumonia, some doctors suggested they stop treating him and let "nature take it's course". An ethics committee was called and they sat on the topic. One Doctor took the lead after many hours of discourse. He asked the doctor across from him "on a scale from one to ten, how do you rate your quality of life?". After weighing his past, present and future, the Doctor questioned replied "ehh-a 6/7". The Doctor who questioned Doctor #1 asked the 2nd doctor. "What do you rate Dr. #1's life?". The second Doctor thought and replied: "If he thinks it's a 6/7 then I'll have to give that to him as well"- He said. In fact, most of the Doctors sitting down rated themselves with those numbers.

The committee went to the paraplegic and the Lead Doctor questioned the paraplegic. "Mr. Heinz, given your situation, on a scale from one to ten, how do you rate your quality of life?". Of course, after much thought Mr.Heinz responded "probably a 9/10. I know it might surprise you, because I have been so limited so much of my life, but I cannot express what joy life around me brings to me and still having the ability to see all those sunsets and taste the food- i don't know anything else, but in that alone, i appreciate the ability to have such experiences.

Fair enough. Simple story right? Not a surprise- but it can be debated on certain levels.

It's a good enough example of why my peers and I choose Israel, how we're crippled with our history, yet it's all worth fighting for. It's the most spiritual place I've ever set foot on. I always maintain to my friends who are atheist: "step foot in Jerusalem and tell me there is no G-D."
We're spoiled by life- miracles are explained by science. Dancing in the kitchen is blamed on the wine. Most people only cry when a sad, fictional movie is playing in front of them. It's as if people are determined to take the fun out of everything and rationalize it with logic. Sure- an aeronautical engineer can explain why a plane flies. But my brain cannot digest how you can stick something so big in the sky.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'm turning the news off and running through Jerusalem with a pink Tu Tu on and a radio on my shoulder.



At 8/10/2006 1:09 PM, Blogger elif said...

hey can we be running partners... I have a fetching purple boa that would be just darling with the tu tu!

At 8/10/2006 5:08 PM, Blogger David P said...

behave :)

At 8/12/2006 6:32 PM, Blogger alias pail said...


At 8/15/2006 5:02 PM, Blogger Carey said...

beautiful comparison about the quadriplegic and quality of life - we are praying for your country and hope for peace - BTW, my husband is quadriplegic


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