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Lifelines: The Next Chapter

C. Saphir

Over the past few years, these seven LifeLines narrators have shared their memorable stories of struggle and growth, adversity and triumph. Where are they now?

Monday, October 02, 2017

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See You at the Door

Issue: 406

Story Name: At Your Door

The Challenge: With my husband totally broken by his debts, how would we live?

Recap: My husband lost his job and then fell into serious debt after a failed business venture. With 13 children to marry off and huge debts to repay, we desperately needed money — but my husband was too broken to work or even go around collecting tzedakah. Someone had to rescue my family, so I picked myself up and started knocking at people’s doors for donations each night after I finished work.

Where are they now? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 680)

Positive parenting — with boundaries

Issue: 435

Story Name: Positive Parenting

The Challenge: My son was headed for juvenile delinquency. Was a hard-line approach the answer?

Recap: All the parenting courses, books, and shiurim advocated positivity in dealing with kids, but our oldest child, Noach, simply was not responding to that approach. Diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and various learning and sensory issues, Noach was out of control at home and in the classroom.

In desperation, we sent him away to a hard-line yeshivah that imposed drastic consequences for misbehavior, even calling the police to restrain unruly students. At the same time, we began following a different parenting approach that advocated a zero-tolerance policy for disrespectful behavior. For the first time, my husband and I found ourselves on the same page in our parenting, and Noach finally settled down and started behaving like a mensch.

Where are they now? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 680)

Mighty Water Can’t Extinguish the Love

Issue: 509

Story Name: Out of the Blue

The Challenge: A dream scuba diving excursion in the stunning Caribbean Sea turned into a life-threatening nightmare — and a wakeup call

Recap: When I was 16, off the derech, and on drugs, my desperate parents sent me to a desert boot camp in Eilat, where I earned a scuba diving license — the first big achievement of my life. Later, while diving near the Bahamas, I ran out of oxygen, and although my buddy helped me make it safely to the surface, once there he didn’t realize I was in distress and unable to ride the powerful waves. My near-drowning experience made me think seriously, for the first time, about Hashem, and about what I really wanted in life, and spurred me to enroll in a yeshivah and turn my life around.

Where are they now? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 680)

Still One in a Million

Issue: 566

Story Name: One in a Million

The Challenge: I thought I’d made peace with my two-fingered chicken hand — until I realized that others never would.

Recap: I was born with a rare deformity: an oddly shaped two-fingered hand that I like to call my “chicken hand.” While this one-in-a-million “gift” hardly impacts my life and has never stopped me from doing anything I ever wanted to do, it does create all sorts of awkward situations for me, because some people are grossed out by my hand and have trouble seeing me as a regular person who just happens to be missing some fingers.

Where are they now? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 680)

Wrath Under Wraps

Issue: 576

Story Name: Breaking the Cup of Wrath

The Challenge: If I didn’t break my temper, I’d break my kids.

Recap: I inherited my father’s terrible temper, but I thought I had conquered my anger when I became a baalas teshuvah. Only when I had my second child did I discover the monster lurking inside me, when I started screaming at my older son practically every day. I didn’t want to perpetuate the pattern I had grown up with, though, so I made it my life’s work not to yell at my kids.

Where are they now? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 680)

Out of the Shadows

Issue: 582

Story Name: In the Shadows

The Challenge: The wife I knew was gone; the person I was living with was merely her shadow.

Recap: When my wife began to exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, our roles reversed: instead of her tending to my needs, as she had done faithfully for half a century, I became her caregiver. Watching your spouse fade away before your eyes and be replaced with a helpless, irrational, and even abusive stranger is agonizing, but by educating myself about Alzheimer’s, surrounding myself with a support system, and bolstering my emunah, I am able to keep forging ahead, knowing that I have a responsibility to do what Hashem expects of me.

Where are they now? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 680)

Baggage Recheck

Issue: 647

Story Name: Baggage Check

The Challenge: I was a top bochur, but no one wanted to marry me with my baggage.

Recap: After quietly struggling with anxiety and depression for years, I finally got my condition under control and was ready to get married. But each time I told a girl about my condition, or her family found out about it some other way, I found myself back at square one. I knew that working on my issues had made me better marriage material. But would a potential spouse ever recognize that?

Where are they now? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 680)

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