Giving, Contentment & Hoppla Hop 

Giving, Contentment & Hoppla Hop 

 The 1920’s, last century, center of what is to become Israel. It is a very hot day midsummer, probably above 90 degrees Fahrenheit with choking humidity. The breeze from the Mediterranean doesn’t really help much. She is filling mattresses with hay, one after the other, tedious work. Sweat is pouring down her armpits. She is not complaining. She is right there in the element of doing, so present. 

 She taught herself how to like tomatoes. She used to hate them, avoiding them, she couldn’t stand the taste. Now she eats them. It was the acceptance of her new reality without resentment. For sure the hunger helped, but she had the gift of being present no matter where she was. 

 It was a very different reality. As a young girl she used to walk on icy roads to get to school. She was at medical school in Latvia before she left everything behind and made an Aliyah to help establish a kibbutz. They started from scratch, making something out of nothing. 

 Looking back there was a clear pattern. In these early days, she healed a girl named Sarah. Sarah was a sickly albino girl. Ill-suited for the harsh conditions, they all called the girl “White Sarah”. She fed Sarah gently with tender hands and patience, a spoonful of food and then another. Sarah survived.

 In her later years, from her early seventies until her mid-eighties, even after losing her husband, she always found herself taking care of a friend of her generation. There were a whole series of friends she cared for and looked after. As each would pass, she would find herself caring for a new friend, she outlived them all. 

 A few weeks before she died, she still walked with us, bringing a basket of plums to make sure we had food. She was one of my best friends.

 To my other grandma, a gorgeous beauty who didn’t share the same approach to life, she used to always say: Hoppla Hop, chin up, walk one step at a time. Hoppla Hop was her motto. No time so sulking or self-pity, time to face-up to life.

 I saw her a few hours after she died. She was beautiful. Her facial wrinkles disappeared. She was at peace but still so present whether in life or death.

 “Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening unconditional and relative bodhichitta are called bodhisattvas or warriors—not warriors who kill and harm but warriors of nonaggression who hear the cries of the world”.

Pema Chödrön 

Danit SchreiberComment