October 6th, 2013 by Julie Silver
The sun has barely risen here in the Palisades, and I am looking out over the dark Pacific Ocean, Sally snoring, nestled at my feet, the tea kettle just beginning to whistle. I am so overwhelmed with emotion that I had to write something, anything, that will help me order and clear my thoughts. I am now home in LA, but I arrived into Miami very late this past Thursday night for a show on Friday night. I rented a car and checked into my hotel–nothing new. My concert at Temple Beth Am was booked a year ago, so you can imagine how good I was feeling that the weekend had finally arrived.
Unfortunately and mysteriously, I woke up the next morning and the room was spinning. The floor was actually crawling up the wall right in front of me. Within minutes I became so violently ill I thought I was going to die, right there, alone in a Miami hotel room. “God, help me,” I whispered through my tears. “Why is this happening to me?” I know this probably sounds like a lot of drama–and it was pretty dramatic–but there is nothing worse than being sick on the road.
In a flash of clear thinking right there on the bathroom floor I realized: I have friends in Miami. I managed to find my cell phone by crawling to my backpack and called Rachelle Nelson. She arrived within minutes carrying every over-the-counter medicine under the sun and 10 bottles of assorted beverages. She called doctors, sang to me, wiped my face with a cool cloth and sat with me until Karen Bookman Sobel arrived to take me to the emergency room. I barely remember any of this I was so nauseous but I do know that Karen made sure I got fast-tracked at the hospital. She told me stories about her sons and her travels and she made me laugh. The nurses were wonderful. Finally I was able to sit upright. And somehow–SURPRISE!–I met a nice Jewish doctor in the ER. While I was hooked up to an IV and beginning to get my color back, Susan Shane Linder walked in and relieved Karen. Susan stayed with me for the rest of the day.
Unbelievably, I was able to do the show later that night. And I was able to sing the next morning.
You know, I hear myself saying the words “God, help me” all the time. At a slow checkout line at the grocery, while I’m trying to tie my squirming daughter’s shoelaces, when the Red Sox are losing– when faced with any frustration “God, help me” falls off my tongue like a gumball out of a machine. But it was at minyan the following morning, singing and swaying and wrapped in my tallit and the loving embraces of people celebrating life when I figured out what “God help me” actually means.
I cannot describe how grateful I am that my life’s work–wandering around the world with a suitcase, a guitar, and a tallis (and a bad stomach) has brought me so many dear and loving friends who answer the call “God, help me” for me and so many others. After 25 years, this community reminds me every minute of every day that I am not alone no matter where I am in the world.
I tell you, angels are everywhere. They drop in unexpectedly. They change the scene. And most importantly, they remind me of how much love there is in the world, and how much love I’ve yet to find.