By Malkie Hirsch
“You’re more assertive and, I don’t know … just different. You were more timid, shy even. You don’t recognize that change in you? To me, it’s so obvious,” said a friend of mine last week.
I wonder if there’s something to be said about a seismic negative shift in your life bringing about positive change.
I find myself saying yes to things I never would have in my past life, safely ensconced in a good marriage where my day-to-day was predictable and safe but not unwanted. I was happy to do the things I was doing. I was bored at times, yet full of happiness and satisfaction over how my life turned out.
Or so I thought.
Every life experience has a pleasure aspect as well as one of pain.
The pain and general discomfort of pregnancy and childbirth is bearable because of the beautiful baby that’s the result of nine months of carrying and caring for your baby in utero. Those intense hours of labor and delivery are all worth it when they hand you the most perfect, sweet baby you’ve ever seen. That’s your gift for all that hard work.
The death of my husband has brought me so many new friendships, such deep and meaningful relationships with people I never would have had the chance to meet if not for this unspeakably sad change in our lives.
My agreeing to speak in front of a college classroom or doing a demo on my bread-making would never have come to fruition because it was outside my comfort zone. But when I’d think about the reasons I shouldn’t do it and the only reason was “It’s scary and intimidating,” that just didn’t seem like a good enough reason to deny a potentially fulfilling new life experience from happening.
When my kids refuse to try a new food, I try reasoning with them, saying “Just try a tiny taste, you might really love it, and it might become your favorite new food.” Isn’t that the beauty of possibility? The advantages of being alive and able to try new things that terrify you but might end up being a new calling if you just take a chance.
Be open to new possibilities.
Make a change.
So they try the food on their plates and love what I served them. It becomes a staple in our house.
And then I decide that, yes, I’ll take a chance and be vulnerable in front of people and it might surprise me. I might even be good at speaking publicly.
It might inspire and help others going through things in their own lives.
Before Moshe’s passing, I was never comfortable with change or transition. I was a creature of habit and appreciated the routine of my life and would do anything to keep things steady and on the same track as always. As predictable as things were before, this is as unpredictable as they became after. Everything changed and nothing was the same. And although change was always the thing I feared most, it’s the greatest gift of my life today.
There’s the sense of possibility when change occurs, that things you could never have imagined can come to be.
That out of the deepest, darkest sadness can emerge genuine love and happiness. Out of loss can emerge lessons and reflections on what’s important in life.
Out of the many strangers I’d pass on a daily basis people have emerged who have become such a significant part of my new, changed life.
Out of being on my own for the first time in a long time can emerge the change in me I never thought possible.
Malkie’s husband, Moshe, a’h, passed away in March at the age of 40. Over the past few months, she has been sharing her thoughts and emotions with readers on her Instagram page @Kissthekoshercook. We are privileged to share her writings and reflections with our readership. May Moshe’s memory be a blessing for Malkie and her beautiful family.