Last night at my synagogue I got a blessing for Peace Corps service. I had requested this a number of months ago, but when the time actually came, and the rabbi called me up there, I felt special. He said some very kind things, and I had tears in my eyes when he was doing it.
While I have had some very difficult times, and a few very, very difficult years these past few, I am indeed feeling blessed right now. I had a few friends there who have been so very kind to me, and one who came even though she usually goes to another synagogue, and my sister even came to be there for me (my niece bailed on me to spend the night with a friend!). Afterward, I began to think about how, despite the difficulties I have had, I also am very blessed.
I think of the past two months, when someone I had not seen in nearly eight years offered a room in her house to me, and treated me as part of her family. She also brought me to Ukrainian school every week, so I got to sit with the students (11 and 12 year old kids – man did I stand out!) and try to learn some of the language, but if nothing else, I got to hear it spoken by a native speaker.
I think of the situation with my house and the fact that I know I would not be going to Ukraine if it were not for another friend, who used his contact at the bank to help me, and the bank settled very favorably.
I think of my birthday, when a family I know took me out to dinner.
I think of the many other kindnesses people have shown me during these past few years, and am very grateful for them all.
I am finally able to be truly optimistic about my future – about Peace Corps and what lies beyond it. (Up until last week I kept waiting for another obstacle to come. Last week I woke up and finally was excited because I knew it was actually going to happen.)
Contrary to what it may seem like sometimes, I am not a very outgoing person, and I do not have a large group of friends who threw me goodbye parties. What I have is a network of people who are actually concerned about my welfare (this sometimes surprises me – I have not seen some of these people in many years). I also have a smaller number of people with whom I got to spend time in the past few weeks.
I am truly grateful for all of the loving people in my life. And I hope to keep a dialogue with all of them while I am serving.