I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I used to feel sorry for myself. I used to be jealous of those around me. I used to look at other people and say, “Oh they’re all married, or have boyfriends or girlfriends. They have families. They have kiddies. They work for giant law firms. They’re making 3 million dollars a year. They have a lot of friends. They’re not handicapped; they can be on top. They’re well respected in their communities. They get honored by their shul. People have to spend $400 a plate for their dinner.”
But then, a couple months ago, a friend from New York came for Pesach and I hung out with him, his wife and their three kids. He’s a famous architect. They have a gorgeous duplex on Park Avenue. They had a suite at the Waldorf Astoria for the whole Pesach. But what I noticed when I was hanging out with him was that he was absolutely miserable. He had to control everything, up to where are they going to find the best nuts in the Shuk. Everything with this guy had to be perfect. He asked me where the bathroom was, and I started to show him because it was a little complicated, and then he got very upset because it was taking me away from collecting for the Holocaust survivors. He got very angry because he didn’t want to take me away from what I was doing. I told him that I could take a break for two minutes, but he was furious. He has a great heart, but he’s a tortured soul.
That’s when it hit me. Why the fuck am I jealous of him? Actually, if anything, this guy should be jealous of me. I have all the freedom in the world. I don’t have to work 15 hours a day. I don’t have to manage a staff of 80 architects. I don’t have to make sure my kids are going to the absolute best schools and are getting the absolute best grades.
So what if I’m handicapped and in a wheelchair, and only have $240,000 and don’t own my own apartment, and spend my nights alone in bed, and have to have my caretaker put a catheter on me every night? I’m free. I can write exactly the kind of poems I want, no matter how offensive or upsetting they are to some people. I can spend my days watching the stock market and losing money, and I have no one telling me I shouldn’t be doing it. I go to the shul that I want. If I want to go to Chabad every day and put on tefilin, I do that. If I want to eat a cheeseburger on Shabbos, I can do that. If I want to have a baby with a lesbian couple, I go have a baby with a lesbian couple. I can fall in love with a Korean woman from Singapore and fly to see her, and she can come here to see me. I can run over missionaries with my wheelchair and not suffer the consequences (yet).
I’m free, thank G-d I finally see it.