Risky Paths

cross2 OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

It is okay to see the risk

And not step

Fully

Into it.

Courage does not always

Mean

Precarious

Heaving ho.

Perilous paths

Indeed at times

Need forging,

But aren’t

All

Tests of

True bravery,

When often enough

The careful way

Around

Is a daring

Opportunity.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Do It Anyway

He has stage fright. The real deal.

Social phobia with all the trimmings.

Speaking in front of anyone renders him paralyzed with irrational but no less numbing terror.

Talking to a store clerk makes him sweat.

Let alone giving a speech in front of assembly.

The whole school. Faculty, too.

He trembles at the thought.

“You don’t have to do this.” His mother. She is distressed by his distress. Protective.

“But I do,” he says.

He’s scared.

Determined, too.

He asks me to teach him how “to speak even when my throat gets stuck.”

We work on it. On breath, on visualizing, on rhythm and on parsing and on tone and pitch and breath again. He practices. With me, at the mirror, with family, with a good friend.

He knows the words by heart. He wrote them. A speech about things that oh-so-matter and are so very needing-to-be-said.

“The words come into my dreams,” he tells me. “Is that weird?”

I shrug. I don’t think so. “What do you think?”

He smiles shyly. “I think they want me not to be afraid. The words. Like we are friends now, words and me.”

 

The day comes.

He calls me in the evening.

“I threw up twice and I trembled like crazy,” he says, but his voice is giddy. “Then I thought about the words. My words … like friends. The beads on the necklace like we practiced … and I could breathe … I was still scared but I did it anyway!”

 

learn-how-vvg

Counting Miracles

How does one count miracles?

All kinds of ways.

The last day had several, some in quite unexpected places.

This is how it went:

An unattended backpack led to a delay in a race where thousands prepared to run. The delay resulted in a bomb that was intended to explode during the race, blowing up in glorious isolation and hurting no one. No one. It also exploded only partially. This bomb was RELUCTANT to hurt anyone, me think.

Another bomb did explode, this time on a busy street that very night: a beautiful Saturday night in NYC, many people out and about. While 29 people were hurt, and undoubtedly many got frightened, there was only one significant injury, and all the wounded have already been discharged from the hospital the very morning after.

Windows shattered by the powerful bomb, stuff flew about, a steel dumpster got bent out of shape … but no serious structural damage to buildings or subways or thoroughfares took place.

The bomb had been left next to an institute for the visually impaired. More people could’ve gotten hurt by the bomb, tripped by not being able to see the debris. But the place was closed for the weekend.

The response of NYPD and FDNY was swift and remarkably efficient. All hands on deck in coordinated help. Knowledge that grew out of years of terror attacks against Israelis, saves lives now: The first responders knew to search for additional bombs. Indeed, a secondary device was found, unexploded, and was removed safely by the brave bomb squad without harm to anyone. Another RELUCTANT bomb, me think. Didn’t want to participate in any premeditated carnage, this one.

 

So, you see, the person or persons who’d left these items of ugly destruction–whatever the dark soulless ‘reasoning’ they might’ve made themselves believe justified it–meant to sow terror, to spread pain, to create panic.

They wanted devastation.

Instead, we got several miracles.

May all evil minds be foiled.

Amen.

miracle-einstein