"Raise your hands if it's a challenge for you to look your husband in the eyes."
I almost raise mine. It's sure a challenge for me.
I've looked hundreds of men in the eyes. Deeply, soulfully, admiringly. I've even resorted to fluttering my eyelashes at them. But I'm yet to look my husband in the eyes. I wonder what color eyes he has, and when I'll get to see them.
Oh, that's not what she means. She's talking about relationships with our husbands, about Shalom Bayis. I guess that's what this Shiur is going to be about.
A warning would have been nice. I was looking for some uplifting spirituality, not a reminder of how lacking I am on my own.
I hope my mother, sitting next to me, is not upset. I hope she's not thinking of how much she'd give to look into her husband's eyes. An opportunity she's not had since he died.
I wonder how many other widows, divorcees there are in the room. I catch the eye of a single woman in her fifties. She's managing to mask the pain. Or perhaps she doesn't mind. Perhaps by now she's grown numb, grown used to it. Used to never ending references to things she is missing.
We all live in bubbles, bubbles of our own making. We have a tendency to think that where we are holding, so is everyone else.
Please, remember the others.
Before you speak of children, remember the childless.
Before you speak of spouses, remember the single, the widowed, the divorced.
Before you speak of families, remember those who are alone.
It can work in the other direction too. From sagas designed to pull at heartstrings, to casual episodes to spice up a talk. Melodramatic tales are casually dropped. References that can drive some listeners to tears.
I've been in the corridor, outside, when women have stood up and left Shiurim in the middle, able to take no more. I've seen their faces as they've leaned against the wall, outside, shaking, fighting back the memories that the careless mentions brought back to them.
So before you tell of sickness and disease, of hospital wards and intensive care units, think of the terminally ill.
Before you tell of death, of deathbeds and burials, think of those who recently lost a loved one.
Tact, sensitivity, consideration, these should be values in our world too.
Pause, stop a moment, remember there are people in the audience for whom this can be a sensitive topic, choose your words with care. There are some places where even angels fear to tread, and rightly so.
4 days ago