It’s all about Me


These have been days of joy, but unusual trial as well. This week held plans of not only travel to and from MA and ME per usual, but also a trip to visit family in Denver, not to mention Sid’s birthday and our anniversary. Lots of pieces needed to fall into place.


So this morning when the train began to derail and the domino effect started down the many possibilities of the “Now what do we do?” began, it was clear that our Abba had more important lessons I was to learn.


Let’s just start with our drive to Ruach on Shabbat . . .


This particular Shabbat was the bat mitzvah of Elizabeth Hansen which, by the way, was off the chart amazing in so many ways. Instead, however, of the drive being a time of spiritual preparation and shalom, I spent it holding Sid’s phone in my left hand so my neighbor in Maine could converse with the generator repairman on my phone in my right hand as to what to do with our generator that would not turn off and what safety measures were needed (as our neighbor was being coached how to turn off the gas to our generator). At the end of that conversation in the parking lot of Ruach we learned we are most likely facing a $1200 or more repair, not a great way to feel Shabbat shalom.


Nevertheless, I was able to enter into services and be present, in the moment, with Him, quite well, I might add, without feeling distracted. So when the Ark was opened and as we were praying before the Torah processional, I really can’t explain the voice I heard in my head that said, “It’s just a generator.” I actually hadn’t been thinking of it at all by then, so the inexplicably timed directive message given as I was looking at the light on the Torah scrolls gave me a great sense of peace and perspective. I sensed His Guidance.


Fast forward to Monday morning when it seemed as if one hurdle after another was being thrown in my path for solving. I would imagine it’s ugly watching sausage being made and presumably no one likes to do it, so being in my world of trying to figure out logistics for Sid and me when things don’t go as planned is pretty ugly. As I was trying to think through solutions with a loved one it was clear it wasn’t the time for her to be in my crazy world so as I was processing options with her, she told me she had to go.


Neither of us anticipated this action would hurt my feelings. Surprisingly to me who seems so capable and pragmatic, I was shocked at my reaction. At that moment I thanked God for giving me this insight into myself that I have such a soft spot and am not as stoic as I may appear. I also realized how fragile we all are and how deeply connected we are to those we love.


I became more aware of how deep our effect is on others, especially when interacting with our loved ones. Even a few words of her understanding, even if she was not able to be available right then, would have helped my apparent need for emotional support. I realized my seeming strength to others is why they may feel I don’t need their support as much as clearly I really do. Even though I understood her world had also just been handed a huge challenge that she was dealing with, that knowledge did not change my feelings. At that moment, no matter how analytical my brain, my heart was hurting.


As I talked to God thanking Him for these insights, the lesson became even deeper. I realized I was hurt because it felt as if she had put her needs ahead of mine at that moment. Yet wasn’t I doing the same thing? In my time of need, it was all about me. I was realizing that often when we seek emotional support from another person, we are putting ourselves first rather than being sensitive to the other person’s situation. It’s part of our spiritual journeys to work on this human tendency.


No matter how much we may feel we’re listening to the other person, or trying to be in their shoes, clearly I didn’t do so on that morning! Truthfully, if I had been more sensitive to her situation I would not even have begun to have the conversation with her about my challenges. My conversation was all about me when really, when I thought about it, her dilemmas of the day were way worse than mine.


Only God loves completely sacrificially and our spiritual journey is to follow His model, striving and of course making our human mistakes along the way. Not only did our Abba give His Son Yeshua to mankind, but Yeshua sacrificed His life for us. I thanked God for such a real world reminder of those truths and the daily opportunities He gives us to learn how to love sacrificially.


Dayenu (It would have been enough) . . .


As if that wasn’t enough to learn for one morning, Sid came back at just that moment and asked if I had sent him a text that Dot had died.


No, I hadn’t. We learned as we unscrambled text messages that he had received this information from Dot’s daughter but it looked as if it had come from me. (More God at Work). Blessedly, just last month on our drive back from Florida we had spent time with 93 year old Dot who lived in rural Georgia, she and her daughter being friends of Sid’s from way back. Despite schedules and distance challenges, another lesson was poignantly brought home of the importance to make time for loved ones, a lesson I need lots of work on given our gypsy life style of living in multiple places. Given our busy-ness, I was grateful we had gotten it right at least this one time.


When Sid told me the sad news, it had the same effect as I had experienced on Shabbat when the Ark was opened. The death of a loved one not only reinforces the obvious lesson of making time for others, but also, puts in perspective the personal interchanges I had just had that morning. Our personal growth is important. Our learning to love sacrificially, to not inject our needs without first being sensitive to another’s pain, sorrow, and challenges is critical to our becoming more in His Image.


Yet in addition to those important insights, God’s reminder last Shabbat of the greater perspective and hearing the news of a loved one’s death at just the moments described served as an important overarching reminder – God’s got this. He’s here in every moment, small and big, and we are to not lose sight of the bigger picture. The timing of these events reminded me to not let the daily failings and hurdles blur the reality that our lives are so much more than the toe stubs and obstacles.


True love is putting the other person first, sacrificing our needs for theirs when appropriate and possible. In most cases, when we remember it’s not all about us, we will be more able to more meaningfully love others.


Putting life’s daily challenges in perspective is so life affirming.  What is a large generator repair bill compared to the feeling of being in awe of the reality of our Creator? How clearly we see the importance of loving each other meaningfully, with empathy and sacrificial action, and of overlooking the inevitable misunderstandings when reminded of our mortality. How comforting to be reminded that life does not end at death.


Lesson after lesson. . . How He loves us. . . It’s all about Him, and He is all about us.


Shabbat shalom.






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