I have not met the boy with three fingers.
The only reason I know about him is by way of a parenthetical point my husband was trying to make.
It was Friday and we were busying ourselves in the kitchen and chatting it up.
I was lamenting the callousness of some people regarding the handicaps of others.
He then proceeded to tell me about a story my 8-year-old daughter shared with him about a boy with three fingers. She was in swim camp and there was a boy who was being made fun of because he only had three fingers. The story brought tears to my eyes. I could not stop thinking about it all day. I found myself saying a prayer for his emotional well-being. I was eager for her to come home from school so I could get more details of the story. I also wanted to make it clear to her that anytime she witnesses something like that she should rally behind the victim of abuse and stand up for that person as best she can.
How difficult it must be for little ones walking out into the big scary world where people can be cruel. I think about it every day as my kids leave the house wishing I could pack them love and support along with their lunch. As I pack their lunch I wonder how many children don’t have any food in their bags and will go hungry. I try to pack extra and tell my kids to share with whoever “forgot” their lunch at home or don’t have for whatever reason. I remind them to be kind and hope and pray other kids will be kind as well.
After checking the clock periodically my daughter finally returned from school.
She had a snack and drink and I asked her about the boy with three fingers.
She let me know that the boy responded with the comment, “well at least I have three fingers”.
I felt proud of the coaching this child must have received from some great parents. He did not run and cry but responded with gratitude for the fingers he does have. This was a powerful reminder to me that there are always two ways to perceive things. His cup was half full and he is grateful.
I took that as a personal message for me this Elul.
I suddenly felt ashamed of myself for the things I thought I could not change at this time given certain “handicaps” that I possess. We all lack in certain areas and we all have our handicaps. Some people accept defeat and move on to other areas and yet others become determined and overcome and accomplish despite the odds.
We all have to make a decision at various points in our lives.
Do we want to give in to defeat or do we want to overcome?
If there is one thing I learned being a Jew living in Israel, it is that nothing is impossible.
People here have achieved against odds in many areas be it health, science, agriculture, technology, military, etc.
I want to be one who overcomes challenges. I have the breath of G-d in me and I can do anything. I can even morph this stubborn middle-aged woman into that better person I always wanted to be. I won’t let the unchangeables hinder the changes that are indeed possible. So I thank the boy with three fingers who not only sees his glass half full but also nourished others with it along the way.