Elliot and I often talk with Tali about being the best possible version of herself. As she is only just 7, this is probably a bit hard for her to understand. What we mean is that there are times when she is amazing – mature, kind, empathetic, questioning, interested, sensitive, calm – and times when she is less so and we want to encourage her to be the former more and the latter less. We tell her how much we love the best possible Tali and what a great person that version of her is. That’s not to say that we love her any the less when she acts like a regular 7 year old, but just that we think the best possible Tali is simply amazing.
Being the best possible version of yourself was a theme that my wonderful rabbi also touched on when I saw him last week, and something he focused on in his sermon in shul (synagogue) on Saturday morning. He was retelling the story of a journalist who had given a talk to the community last week about his experiences as a hostage in Gaza. This guy had apparently been kept in isolation for several days before the men who were detaining him came and grabbed him and threw a hood over his head. He was certain he was being taken to be killed and remembered that his rabbi had told him that we are all put on earth for a purpose, even if we don’t know what it is. We will not die until we have fulfilled that purpose. We should therefore live our lives as the best possible versions of ourself to try to ensure we fulfil that purpose as well as possible.
The story really struck a chord. I certainly don’t know what my purpose is. It could be any of a number of things. Before Genghis I was very focused on my twin responsibilities of family and career, but I have come to realise that these may not be the only things I am here for. I may never know and so I must try to do everything in the best possible way.
In the past few days two people in particular have been a real beacon for me in this quest. They have not only shown me the best possible versions of themselves, but they have given me the opportunity to be a better version of me, by teaching me how to accept with gratitude and how I don’t have to be the controller in every relationship.
I’ve mentioned my amazing sister in law before in this blog. She is an incredible person. She is so giving and generous with her time, energy and love, not just to family but also to a wide circle of her friends. I am able to deal with Genghis and its complications so much better because of her support. This weekend she was simply wonderful, yet again. Tali had an ice skating party. Debs not only went on the ice (which lack of energy prevented me from doing), but looked after a number of the little guests, making sure they were happy and having fun. After the party she took Joey off so I could rest up with Tali and have some quiet time. Then she came back and looked after both kids for the rest of the day. When I thanked her for being so fabulous, she turned it round to thank me for letting her spend time with the kids. This is one amazing woman.
The other person who has inspired me this week is a semi-stranger, one of the many mums from my Facebook group of mums. This lady offers reflexology to cancer patients and has been kind enough to treat me twice before, simply out of the goodness of her heart. She offered to come to my chemo session yesterday. I accepted, thinking she was on a break from treating others in the same building. I was wrong. She was on a morning off, but nonetheless came to treat me while I was in the chair. She told me a little of her own story, which is not for me to share, but suffice to say she is going through major personal turmoil at the moment. She refused to take any money and insisted I tell her when I am next in chemo so she can come again. Pre-Genghis Rosie would have insisted on giving something back, but I am learning to accept the generosity of others. She has given me the gift of her skills and time and I accept with sincere gratitude.
So my aim now is to be the best possible version of me, in every way. In the subtle ways as well as the obvious ones. In accepting as well as giving. In thinking as well as doing. And in that way I hope that I will fulfil my purpose in the best possible way.