I had a very interesting day today. Two worlds collided and if I were to include my own, that would make it three. I will try to explain.

My friend, Louis, came by for a visit. He lives about four blocks away. It took him about seven minutes to walk here. That seems innocuous enough, except for the fact that five weeks ago, he had a double-lung transplant. We were on the same list. He was one number in front of me. The last time Louis was at our house, he was hooked up to his portable oxygen, struggling for air as we both tried to laugh and commiserate. As it turned out, thank G‑d, he received his new lungs, is off oxygen, and yes, he walked here, without any help, four blocks in seven minutes. More than remarkable. He has a new life and he is not sure what to do with it, yet.

He has a new life and is not sure what to do with it, yetOn this very same day, I received an email from my friend, Wendy, in England. Her husband passed away from brain cancer two days ago. She had been at his side every day for the past year since he had fallen ill, up until the very end. In her email, she thanked me for calling her and she also asked me how I ever got over the death of my mother and a few months later, the death of a very close friend. She wrote "it is very hard to watch someone you love, die." Too true. I replied to her only to say, "The heart heals…there will be scars but they are the signs of a heart that has given of itself for better and for worse." She is facing a new life, dealing with death. It is too early yet, I believe, for her to imagine what she will be doing in the future.

And me, for the moment, I am in this kind of waiting room; number one at the top of the list for a double-lung transplant. It has been one year, two months and a few days. I have adapted, adjusted, compromised, learned new forms of discipline, grieved over the loss of the things I used to be able to do, learned new things to do in between, and fantasizing about what I may yet be able to do in the future.

It would seem there is Life and Death and Everything In-Between. However, I never could look at the passage of time in a linear fashion. It has always seemed to me that everything was always happening at the same time. So perhaps it was not unusual that I found myself in somewhat the same position as both Louis and Wendy. We are all beginning to look at life all over again. It's daunting. It's challenging. It's a gift. Yes, even in our greatest moments of sorrow or fear or exhilaration, these are all gifts. They are signs of life. These moments, passages and experiences we travel through are all meaningful. It begs the question, "What does G‑d want from me now?"

This paradox in time and life left my world spinningAs I recall, on Rosh Hashanah almost five years ago, my mother was buried the previous day. For the "New Year" we dined at our Rabbi's house. Imagine celebrating the year after my one day of mourning for my mother. How do you get your head around that? I am reminded that Rosh means Head, the Head of the year. This paradox in time and life left my world spinning, in slow motion. To my Rabbi, my grief was palpable. As we left the house, he stopped me at the door, and with my head hung low, he bent down and said, "Masha, choose Life."

It seemed like an impossible, horrifying task. Never before, or since, have I felt more challenged. Choosing life changed me. Needing a transplant changed me. Fortunately, we do have a guide-book, a manual to keep us safe. We have the Torah. And if we are lucky, we have a teacher.

My friend, Wendy, may have a difficult time this Rosh Hashanah. My friend, Louis, will experience a whole different type of New Year. I am not sure where I will be this Rosh Hashanah; in surgical theater, in a hospital room or perhaps again, at my Rabbi's. All of us have to get ourselves in the right "head-space," yet again.

As such, I will say again that I believe there is no such thing as Life and Death and In-Between. There is only "being" and learning the purpose of your "being." At every juncture, on every bridge, at every bend in the road, with every turn of the head, someone lives, someone dies, someone waits, someone cries.

I've realized that what holds us altogether is G‑d, and perhaps the knowing that a New Year can be a new way of being. May this year find you healthy and wealthy in the knowledge that G‑d will be there, has always been there and all those times we may perceive as "in between," He is there as well. For Him, for you, live this year with purpose. Love this life with a sense of meaning in everything you feel and do and say.

Happy Rosh Hashanah.