Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thankfulness - by Norma Glad

My heart overflows with thankfulness for the many opportunities I have been given throughout my life, most of them resulting from decisions, some made by others, some by me. Some were carefully reasoned, yet more often they had to be made blindly, not knowing where they would lead.

One wonderful opportunity came from both sets of my grandparents, decades before I was born. My grandparents were all born in Russia. In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Jews in Russia were attacked by Russian soldiers or peasants on orders from the government. These fateful pogroms, as they were called, often resulted in the deaths of entire communities.

Because of the pogroms, my maternal grandparents decided to leave their ancestral land and journey with their children to the United States of America — The immigration of my paternal grandparents is another story. How thankful I am for their difficult, risky decisions. Then my parents, who met in Cleveland, Ohio, made a decision to open opportunities for their children. When they had saved enough money to buy a house, they chose one near excellent public schools. My mom and dad were so proud when my sister and I became the first in our family to graduate from college.

More opportunities occurred when my late first husband, who died in 1960, joined the navy in the last years of World War II. Because of his service, I became a URW: UnRemarried Widow, eligible for a widow’s privileges from a deceased veteran. This opportunity provides a monthly stipend and almost unlimited medical care.

Yoga was an opportunity that almost got away. Thirty years and many life adventures ago, I noticed that a yoga class was starting. I had heard about the benefits of yoga but had never done it. I decided to try it and leave if I didn’t like it. I loved it. I knew at once that yoga was for me. I studied for 10 years and then seized the opportunity for a yoga teacher certification. I have been teaching ever since.

When I was young, I thought I would live in Cleveland all my life, never expecting that I would live and work in Maryland, North Carolina, California and Colorado. Fort Collins has turned out to be full of opportunities for me to be an active senior. Examples: swimming pools at my condo, the Senior Center and EPIC; the indoor skating rink at EPIC, and snowshoeing.

I am glad I made the decision to join the caring community at Congregation Har Shalom, where I have had the opportunity to study Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. I don’t have much background in Bible studies, yet I “sit among scholars” as did my grandpa the scholar. I like to imagine him looking down at me from Heaven and saying approvingly: “Nyomelle! (Yiddish version of my Hebrew name) a woman, continuing my studies! Only in America could it happen!”