In ALL, ILLNESS by Stephanie Klein

In hebrew school, I remember when the alphabet finally clicked and I could read, words, sentences.  I must have been too young to remember what learning to read English felt like, but I remember when aleph bet vet became adon-i.   I also remember being in Mrs. Weiner’s class that same day.  She told us we should always behave as if God were in the room, right there with us.  I was somehow comforted by this idea, that there was a witness to when I was good, or when others were bad.  There was someone taking notes and charting my progress. It made life seem like one day it would be fair.  I still hope it’s true.  Maybe I see it now as Karma.  As long as I keep trying to be positive, trying to give instead of take, trying to be the bigger person and ignore hate instead of countering it, I’ll grow and make a difference in lives.  Even if they’re only the lives that are close to mine.

My sister would talk in her sleep sometimes.  Her room was down the hall from mine, but if we slept with our doors open, I could hear her in the middle of the night.  Once, in her sleep, she said, “simply scrumptious.”  She was having a food dream, or more likely in her case, a candy dream.  Other times, she’d awake from a nightmare, screaming out for help.  I’d dart up from slumber and run into her room to see if she was okay.  She didn’t remember any of it the next morning.

Now, if I heard my neighbor George screaming for help in the middle of the night, I’d assume it was some sex game, but just to be sure, I’d knock on his door and ask if he was okay.  I’d phone 911 and shout back that help was on the way if he needed it.  Proximity makes me feel responsible to offer help.

Just because I can’t hear a scream in the middle of the night, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to help.  I guess, as hard as it is to imagine, what if that were someone I knew, who lost their belongings, their family, their hopes?  I’d help.  It’s why I plan to make a donatation to the Red Cross this month… so, um, click around in my site a bit, or visit or call 1-800-HELP-NOW to help those you don’t necessarily hear in the middle of the night.