Blessed are they that mourn, feeling crushed alone and forlorn. When your heart’s broke in two, God will comfort you. Blessed are you when you mourn.
Blessed are you when you weep, there is coming a time to reap. Though you’ve sowed tears in pain, you’ll come rejoicing again. Blessed are you when you weep. (Original Song)
The fourth grade at No. 19 School had become a nightmare. I had come face to face with two terrifying realities: Miss Morris and the multiplication tables. Every morning, first thing, my new teacher had us number 1-10 down the left margin and immediately fired off the times tables: “7 x 8; 8 x 4; 9 x 7, etc. It was agony for me. My little brain never seemed to catch up or catch on.
To make matters worse, Miss Morris was, well, how can I say it? She was mean looking–a bit like the witch in the Wizard of Oz–not the pretty one. Of the many old maid teachers in our school, Miss Morris was the one most likely to remain one.
Finally judgment day came. She looked in my direction and I heard, “Wade, come up to my desk please.”
Up to then I had managed to avoid her. But now, shaking in my sneakers, I stood before my nemesis. “Wade, you are a bright boy. Why are you having so much trouble with our morning quizzes?”
To my shock and shame, a hidden dam inside me broke wide open. I dissolved in tears and blurted out, “I don’t know!” Many years later, when diagnosed with ADHD, I discovered that’s a stock answer of children and adults when questioned about their puzzling symptoms.
As it turned out, Miss Morris had a tender heart, She went out of her way to show kindness to me and I blossomed. I came to love her and I nailed those tedious times tables. Later, when my younger siblings had Miss Morris, they came home complaining about how she went on and on about “what a delight” Wade was.”
It turns out my honest display of fear, sorrow and dismay, worked to both of our benefit. “Blessed are they that mourn.”
Many, many years later, I was told by my urologist that my bladder had serious problems and I would have to have a catheter. Again, to my shock and shame, I burst into tears. It was an honest display of emotion regarding something I had dreaded. As it turned out, as is often the case, the dread is worse than the reality.
From that time on, Dr. Paletsky, not noted for his gentle bed side manner, treated me with great deference. Once, in his oral notes, he recorded that “Wade is a sensitive man.”
Later, the time came for him to remove my very cancerous prostrate, An extremely skilled surgeon, he afterwards confided to my wife that he had taken special pains to rebuild the damage done by cancer to assure I wouldn’t need a catheter. Months later, I have had absolutely no need of one.
I am grateful to a man who, much like Miss Morris, seemingly cold and gruff, but very responsive to an honest display of feelings. “Blessed are they that mourn.”
I just realized a little post script to this story. Both my benefactors are Jewish.