By Gloria Scheiner (Sarasota, FL)
We signed the Shema today.
We cupped our ears and raised one finger to show the Lord is One.
It was Tot Shabbat at my daughter Elana’s temple, and everyone was called to listen.
The Lord is One, and we were one Jewish community.
The parents recited the blessing over their sons and daughters, and, of course, Elana, Michael, and three-year-old Chloe sneaked in a special prayer to include their miniature dachshund, Otto.
The Shema urges us to hear, to listen!
I listen to my forty-year-old son, Adam, when he calls me each morning at 7:20 am on his way to his office.
I hear all about his day’s plans, his stories about the kids, the challenges of raising a family in today’s world.
I listen to his six-year-old.
“Grandma,” he says, “I have to go to a listening class every Sunday. Everyone wants me to listen but nobody wants to listen to me.”
I listen to him.
I listen to my forty-three-year-old son, Jac.
He shares his excitement about his partnership, his books, his music, his recipes, and sometimes even his dates.
“Hey Mom, I completed Sunday.”
Who else but someone who has listened to him could share that excitement?
Because I listen, I know what he’s excited about: the Sunday crossword puzzle.
We listen to each other because we love each other. We love each other more because we listen to each other.
“Listen, Glo. I’m furious. Why do I have to bla,bla,bla…?”
I listen to my sister’s frustration. The more I listen, the more I connect.
It’s so easy to love and be loved. Just listen!
The Shema tells us to hear, to listen, even when it’s a challenge to listen to a loved one when Dr. Alzheimer interrupts his speech and flow of thoughts.
It gets more difficult every day, but I am determined. I am pledged to listen.
Some days are better than others. Yesterday was not one of the better ones.
Tomorrow I will have my hearing aids checked.
I want to listen.
Gloria Scheiner is a member of “The Pearls,” a group of six women who meet every Monday in Sarasota to write. “We choose a word and write for about ten minutes. If we like it, we are free to expand it, edit it, or just hone in on a particular phrase or idea. What I love most is how one word evokes such a different chord in each of us.”