I was as enamored with Judith as the next person, and we forged a very deep, mutually-satisfying friendship that took us through many ups and downs. All this was happening 15 years’ ago, and 10 years’ ago I moved country, away from friends, family, status, comfort and suffocating predictability. But Judith’s smile came with me in pictures, and shone out from her emails and periodical phonecalls.
Then Judith’s family circumstances got a little more stressful: more kids and less money meant that she had to go back to work. And that, dear reader, is when Judith’s smile fell off her face.
On Shabbat, one of my kids started trawling through our old photo albums, that are nearly all from ‘the old country’. In picture after picture, Judith and her smile were shining out to me again, and I felt so sad because in real life, I haven’t seen Judith’s smile in so long. It’s got buried under work stress, and family commitments, and exhaustion, and a long list of other complaints and disappointments.
The quiet casualties
I know that life’s been hard for so many of us this past decade, but those pictures brought back to me just how many quiet casualties there have been as the world continues to spiral down towards the footsteps of Moshiach.
The next day, I sent Judith a text that I’d seen her beautiful smile again, albeit captured by Kodak 13 years’ ago, and that I realized how much I missed it. And her. She replied that she was glad that someone still remembered that she’d once smiled a lot, in those ‘footloose and carefree days’, but that she was too exhausted to really do any more smiling these days.
Work is a drag, kids are a drag, house is a drag, life is a drag….
What could I say?
There aren’t a lot of obvious advantages connected with more than a decade of secondary infertility, or losing your house because your finances crashed, or moving around all over the place every 2 years, but one thing all that has taught me is to appreciate what I have.
There’s still a whole bunch of reasons to smile.
That’s what I wanted to text Judith, but of course I didn’t.
There are many different discussions about what techiat hameitim, or the revival of the dead, actually means in practice. Some say that when Moshiach shows up, the dead Jews will literally rise up out of the grave for the final judgment day. Others take it in a more figurative sense (I’m Sephardi, so I have no problems believing that dead people will start walking around again.)
But it struck me that maybe, it won’t just be people that get resurrected and brought back to life; maybe, it will also be friendships, and family relationships, and the hope that things can be good again.
Maybe, one of the first thing's that Moshiach will resurrect is Judith’s beautiful smile.