Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Different Kind of Counting

We are in the period of the Omer, the days between the second day of Passover and Shavuot. 

Jews are very into counting.

Each year, I find different ways to observe the Omer. The counting lends rhythm, it is special. More and more of my colleagues and friends are counting the Omer, particularly using social media. It's a really wonderful way to connect and learn new lessons, to remember the day, to sense the passage of time in a communal way.

But this year, my Omer is different. The counting in which I'm engaged is different.

We're counting hemoglobin and white blood cells. We're counting neutrophils and platelets.
The official lap-counting board on the HOT Unit
We're also counting days and weeks, we're counting visitors and jokes. We're counting laps around the unit and we're counting antibiotics and degrees of temperature. We're counting ounces of water consumed and calories taken in.

Counting the Omer has taken on new meaning for me this year. We count up to Shavuot, we add the days...we don't count down. We are reaching, rising, moving forward from the slavery of Passover to the freedom of receiving Torah.

Sam's symptoms began to present themselves on the second night of Passover, the night on which we begin to count the Omer. He entered into the hospital on the last day of the holiday, and we began the count-up....through the slavery and degradation of chemotherapy and treatment into the freedom of healing...

We're not there yet. There's a lot of counting left to go.

Each year we count the Omer. Each year we remind ourselves of the journey from slavery to freedom. But this year, my family is living it. We are walking the road, we are traveling the journey.

Like the Israelites, we are afraid, we don't know what's ahead, we don't know what pitfalls we will face. But we can see the mountain, we can see the high place of light ahead of us.

We're counting up...up...up.

No comments: