Monday, September 22, 2008

The Challenge of the Aftermath

When you are in the midst of a non-routine challenge, especially when you are coping well with the challenge, you enter a sort of disconnected state. Things seem to move of their own volition. If you are making good choices, if you are blessed with insight and assistance, obstacles seem to dissolve. Other times, especially if you feel like you are alone and bereft, and have no one to lean on and no faith to support you, it seems like obstacles are placing themselves in your way to make your challenge even more difficult.

Whatever is happening, you are caught up in the rhythm of your challenge. Other things fall by the wayside.

This very effect, a sort of bubble surrounding you, creates yet another challenge when the bubble bursts. You come out of the challenge, whether you met it or not, and suddenly you are "back to normal". What is normal, after all? This very normalcy presents its own challenge. Sometimes it's even harder to be "normal" when you have had the transcendent experience of intimately feeling G-d's presence in your life.

That's what I'm going through now.

We have had many non-routine challenges in the past six months. Since my trip to the US for the unveiling of my mother's gravestone, the various adventures and experiences with Chayim Zvi, up to the loss of my father-in-law last week, I and my family have had many many situations that are not routine. I, certainly, have felt G-d's loving hand holding and protecting and guiding me this whole time. And while I pray that our challenges remain routine from here on out, I am finding it much more difficult to connect to G-d with that kind of intimacy. I'm tired.

Now I have to go back to work, after yet another unexpected absence of days. I have to get the kids out to school. I have to see that there is food and clean laundry. I have to keep up with my responsibilities at the office. And I have to grow and learn and connect with Hashem within that routine. It's hard, perhaps harder than the challenges that took me out of the routine to begin with.

So what's the answer? I believe the answer is prayer. Reading R. Lazer Brody, R. Shalom Arush, R. Pinchas Winston, I believe that whatever you want to call that power in the universe that guides the universe, to connect with that power you have to pray.

Rabbi Winston says that it is human nature to pray under stress. On some level, we all believe that there is some higher power running things. Because I believe that G-d cares about the smallest sparrow no less than the greatest tzaddik (bad translation: saint), I believe that G-d cares about me. So just as a child turns to her parents for love, support and help, so too we have to turn to G-d with our needs, cares and worries.

So I'm praying. I'm not getting to the daily prayer liturgy, though I believe that has an important and vital place. But I'm in constant communication with G-d. The wireless connection that works everywhere, I am in constant conversation with Him. This has tremendous advantages. When I say to G-d, "I can't do this" I remember that if it's happening to me then I must be able to handle it. When I say to G-d, "I don't want this." I remember that if it's happening to me, it must be good for me. When I say to G-d, "I need your help" I begin to feel better, because I understand that I'm not alone. And when I say to G-d, "I accept that I have to work, give me the strength" I feel strengthened.

There is no day without challenges, but I am never, ever alone in them and I can and will meet those challenges because of that.


westbankmama said...

What a beautiful post. I am sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Send my condolences to the hubby.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Thanks wbmom! I will pass on your condolences.