I woke up, Sunday morning, exhausted. After we returned from the hospital, the night before, I packed really fast (read: I threw some stuff in an overnight bag). Needless to say, I forgot to bring all sorts of necessities, like a toothbrush.... (luckily, I did not forget anything that could not be replaced, like my meds).
I hoped to sleep on the busride. I purposefully sat next to someone I did not know, who looked kind of tired, so that I wouldn't be tempted to shmooze. Really.
I should have known better.
My seat-mate seemed so reticent and introverted that I felt obliged to try and make her feel more comfortable. We talked for a while; she relaxed and even smiled.
Then, I went to the front of the bus, to say "tefillat haderech" (prayer for travelers). Ever since my first retreat, I have been the one to say it on the busrides. On my way back to my seat, I had to stop and talk with friends. I mean, seriously, I could not just ignore them!
By the time I returned to my seat, we were almost there.
So much for sleeping on the bus!
When we arrived, the program started right away: Coffee and registration; greetings from Chaya Heller; and an introductory excersize with Jenny and Sarit (I was in Jenny's group).
Then there was a break. I would have liked to go swimming, but I was so tired. I decided to take a few minutes to sleep, even if I wouldn't be able to sleep for long.
Definitely the right choice, though it was tough to wake up. I think I only slept for 20-30 minutes.
The first workshop I attended, "Journey Into Yourself," started late. Fifteen minutes after the starting time, only about 10 out of 30 women were present. I felt that was enough time to wait and that we had reached "critical mass" (i.e. enough people to start). But the program organizers asked the discussion leader to wait a little longer. By twenty minutes after the starting time, I started feeling annoyed.
As many of you know, arriving on time and sticking to a schedule are not easy for me. Not only had I been exactly on time, but had I known they were going to start late, I could have really benefitted from an additional 20-30 minutes of sleep!
I kept thinking of a shiur I attended recently. My husband and I were running late, and I felt certain the teacher would wait for us, because we were only a small group, and she knew we were coming. We arrived only a few minutes late, but she had already started. This made a strong impression on me. She demonstrated a serious respect for her time (and the time of her students). The contrast was striking.
Finally, the leader began the session. After her introduction, she spread out discussion cards, and we each chose two. It was very interesting to see the cards people chose and to hear their reasons why.
I chose a picture of a smiling young girl, looking through a window, with lots of green foliage behind her, and, inside, a lively lizard and two butterflies. The card evoked in me feelings of joy and youth, love of life, and a connection to my daughters (It's a long story, but the lizard is a family symbol for my eldest daughter).
By the end of the session, I had let go of my feelings of frustration. There were at least 20 women by then, and I felt I had a chance to start to get to know them. My connection to these women had begun.
After dinner, Noya Mandel (Hebrew link), a religious female stand-up comic, entertained us. If you ever get a chance, go see her! She is funny!!
After the show, several clusters of women hung around, talking.
Our little cluster was the last group to break up. My roommate and I headed back to our room and continued talking. As I mentioned in a previous post, when we dared look at the clock, it was 2:25 in the morning. We agreed that we really should go to sleep. Then, we talked for another 20 minutes, or so!
I suspect neither of us wanted the day to end.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,