Monday, March 10, 2014

Anna's Way

Anna was born into a life that made it hard to believe there was any good in the world. The water and power in her house were frequently turned off because her father drank his paycheck away rather than using it to pay the bills. Her father left the house early in the morning and didn't come home till very late after Anna and her brother were in bed. There was always fighting and yelling when her parents were together. It took so much strength, but Anna had a way to hold on. 
Anna's mother was psychotic - she never threw out garbage - instead she put it in cabinets and in the stove.  Her mother had irritable bowel syndrome and often didn't make it to the bathroom. The hallways of Anna's house were filled with her mother's excrement. When her mother would get discharged from the hospital, the doctors would tell Anna that her mother couldn't be sent home to a house filled with excrement because she would become psychotic again. This confirmed little Anna's fear that she was the cause of her mother's illness. It was nauseating - but even at such a young age, Anna was constantly cleaning up her mother's filth. The garage was piled high with garbage - and excrement - that leaked from the bathroom floor into a huge bulge in the roof of the garage. Nevertheless -  Anna had a way to hold on.
Mother's bedroom was piled to the ceiling  with trash - there were swarms of roaches everywhere - but Anna had a way. At night, Anna showed her brother how to move their beds away from the walls and cover themselves tightly with the covers to keep the roaches off their faces and bodies while they slept.
When Anna was three years old, she would wake in the morning to the sight of dead rats floating in the kitchen sink amongst the rotten food and filthy dishes. Utterly alone with no one to turn to Anna started fainting. It was then, when she "woke up" that little Anna received the greatest teaching of her life -  her way of holding on. Wet from tears, Anna would reach out and just hold G-d's hand. It was her way of not feeling so alone.
Anna was eventually hospitalized for her fainting spells in 4th grade and again in 6th grade. Her doctors couldn't find the reason for her fainting but Anna didn't wait for the doctors to figure it out...continue reading here...

Additional Reading:

By Rabbi Lazer Brody - Right Action, Right Time

By Rabbi Shalom Arush - Crusaders of Stringencies

By Rivka Levy - Pull Me Out Rabbenu

With Blessings,
Dr. Zev Ballen