A new gratitude

This year’s Days of Awe were like none other during my life. This unusually special time was in line with this year being one of intensity, focus, drawing us to Him even more closely as we sever the ties of what separates us from Him. I, and so many others, have experienced amazing “synchronicities”, “coincidences”, situations where we clearly know HaShem is working on us, guiding our next steps to live lives closer to the example of Yeshua, leading us to more fulfilling lives of love, lives more full of love. It’s as if these COVID times have become the impetus for reawakening, restarting, new eyes, new hearts, deeper digging into our souls to get to more profound truths about ourselves. We are being undeniably challenged to improve our journeys to grow ourselves in His image.

During the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur I had worked to make teshuvah, to repair relationships, to forgive those whom I had wronged during the year. I felt I had made progress except regarding one specific relationship. When my 38 year old daughter went missing several months ago, there was a difference of opinion between myself and a younger relative regarding what should be next steps. I had felt very hurt by the actions she had taken on this subject and I felt during these holy days that I was to do something to repair this relationship. Make teshuvah. Yet how was I to do that if I felt like I was the wronged person? If she hurt me? And we don’t normally talk or see each other?

I prayed about it. Sought advice on the situation. Still, as each day went on, the answer was not clear. The days were coming to a close to seek this forgiveness as Yom Kippur approached. . .

Then, on the day of Erev Yom Kippur, that very person reached out to me via email on the subject of my missing daughter. There had been no interaction between us for the last three months. I was amazed at my reaction. I felt an outpouring of love toward her as we interchanged. The forgiveness poured out, releasing love for her that was there all the time, just protectively walled off by my feelings of hurt. I realized that once again, HaShem had perfectly orchestrated His heavenly timing to show me how clearly He is in this, in our lives in every moment, our ultimate knower of all answers, solver of all problems.

As I began my jog time with HaShem I was cherishing the insight of His perfect timing, overwhelmed with gratitude. Thoughts of my daughter had been brought to the surface by this interchange. HaShem poignantly reminded me that our children are on loan to us as I struggled with feelings of loss. Yet the vivid sense of His presence spurred an even deeper sense of gratitude. I became grateful that my daughter is as capable as she is to live independently, despite her mental and emotional challenges. I thanked HaShem that she was not suicidal, or promiscuous, or an alcoholic, or on drugs, or, or, or . . . As I jogged and praised Him, while thinking these very thoughts, of course, playing at those exact moments of insight, the words of “The Plans I Have for you” began to play, reminding me that HaShem has plans for each of us, for my daughter and for me. I thanked Him for releasing me from worry, at least for this moment and hopefully more often, with the assurance I felt that He protects my daughter in the shadow of His wings. I thanked Him for the forgiveness in families that helps us during hard times. I was bursting with gratitude and joy.

As I was literally skipping down the street with a huge smile on my face, I received a “random” text from my sister (who had had no part in any of the above drama) that started out, “I am so grateful. . . “ I looked at it and realized that she had “mistakenly” sent it to me for it was addressing a work situation intended for another person. Some “mistake”! Clearly an Abba affirmation of my reflections of the morning of His awesomeness and my gratefulness in Him.

As we start this New Year, I encourage you to not just have an attitude of gratitude, but to open yourself to receiving Him even more deeply than you have ever before today. Look at each fall leaf’s new hue, not the whole tree at first, and take each part in, deeply. Savor the first swallow, not just the whole meal. Feel the touch of a feather as deeply as a firm grip. Hear the tiny crickets as loudly as a car horn. Listen to His whisperings in the voices of others, in your own silent thoughts.

Don’t ignore the “coincidences”. Listen for and see the answers to your prayers in the subtleties, not all at once, but little by little. As you do, the interchanges may become less subtle as we prepare ourselves for being with Him. Sensing His presence in everything around us and within our hearts and thoughts. In every moment. He’s in this with you, in each breath, in each step.

Breathe deeply. With immeasurable, boundless, gratitude.

Shabbat shalom.

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