I have a secret to share. It is been extremely hard for me to hold onto this secret. I do a very good job of keeping confidential the secrets of others (after all I am clergy), but when it comes to my own, I am really bad at it. And, this one is a doozy. Ready for it? OK, here goes:
My wife, Batya Ozaroff Boxt, is the most outstanding wife, woman, mother, etc. I have ever known.
OMG, my world is so much better now. That secret has been weighing me down for quite some time. You see, this may not be much of a secret to anyone who knows Batya. However, SHE doesn't always understand or realize how great she is. I am sure you have heard the old saying, "We are our own biggest critic." Well, Batya is the epitome of this...she is not only her own biggest critic, but she really never gives herself the credit she deserves for being who she is.
Really. Shortly after Batya and I were married, we were driving in a car with one of my aunts. My aunt told me that if Batya and I were to ever divorce (she was NOT suggesting this), Batya could stay and I would be the one who gets kicked to the curb. Although this is humorous, it is so true. She really is my BETTER half. She really does complete me. And, I cannot tell you how often I am reminded by everyone I know how awesome she is. I just wish these same people would tell her! I know she is...she is the one who needs to hear it.
Batya and I have been married for just over 11 years now. We have been together for 13. I cannot tell you enough how much I have grown in these 13 years - as a person, a professional, a student, an Aba, a rabbi, a husband, etc. Much of this growth SHOULD BE attributed to Batya. I have not always understood or recognized how influential she has been on me...but trust me, I realize this more and more every day I get to wake up next to her.
In reality, our marriage is not perfect. No marriage is. We have our challenges and our struggles. Sometimes we annoy each other. However, no person has ever supported or loved someone as much as Batya has loved and supported me. Even her criticisms of me come from a place of love and support. Any person who is married should be able to wake up every day and thank their partner for that support. I am so very thankful that I am able EVERY day to do this. I only wish that Carlie will be the same kind of spouse and have the same kind of spouse that her mother is.
Sometimes I am asked how I am able to do my job as a rabbi. People want to know how I am able to be that "non-anxious" presence when people are at their darkest moments. They want to know how I am able to do a funeral and then two hours later show up at a youth group event with a smile on my face. A lot of this is because I know that when I get home, Batya is there to help me reflect and unwind. Being a clergy person is not easy...being the spouse of a clergy person is MUCH harder. I was taught and went through training - Batya is just a natural at being my spouse. And, my friends, this is NOT an easy task.
For my Batya, my b'sheret, my love, my wife, my everything - I love you...and if you EVER doubt that, please tell me so I can make sure that you never doubt it again!
Rabbi Erin Boxt