My Cup Runneth Over
Last week I attended a Yizkor (memorial service). The booklet that had been assembled last fall to honor members of the congregation or their family who had died included my father’s name. I felt a sharp stab of pain when I read it because not long after that was published my mother died. Although I have said mourner’s Kaddish (a prayer praising God) many times, this was the first Yizkor service I have attended since then.
Nevertheless, it was a beautiful service, and when the Rabbi chanted the 23rd. Psalm I felt more joy than sorrow. My cup runneth over, it says in the prayer, and indeed I have abundant joy and good fortune in my life.
Earlier that morning I had coffee with a woman I had hired when I was president of Berkshire Community College. We had reconnected when she was part of panel about support services for students designed to help mentors from the community better serve their student mentees. I didn’t recognize her right away, but realized who she was as soon as she started speaking. Her passion was still evident.
She shared the highlights of her life and career in the 16 years I have been gone, and then told me how much my support had meant to her when she started out. She told me that I had acknowledged her strengths, helped her department grow, and was sensitive to her needs as a single parent. She reminded me that I had invited her to speak at a board meeting, but she was worried that she would be late to pick up her son (now an engineer) at day care. I changed the agenda so that she could go first.
I had not expected to hear any of this, but left bursting with pride and happiness. It meant so much to me that I had made a difference in her life (and the lives of the students she was able to help). Many of us do good work but don’t get to know the results. This was an unexpected blessing - my cup runneth over.