And So, I Cry

When the list gets longer and longer, there is nothing else I feel I can do, but cry. Nope, not talking the list of all my household chores, like all the laundry that seems to replenish and multiply like Gremlins. I am not talking about the shopping or doctor’s appointments for kids, or other various domestic tasks.

I am referring to the list of friends and family members that I am currently praying for because they are ill. And, so I cry because I’ve already prayed, I’ve already baked and taken challah, I’ve already said tehillim (special prayers) and yet the list continues to grow.

It just isn’t fair.

http://hopeforallmin.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/4520624556.jpgWhile I raise my fists to the heavens I am sad, and hurting. I want Him to be compassionate yet can He when he confuses us so, by forcing us to raise our voices in sheer agony over loss of choice? Our friends and family members are sick, not because they were eating unhealthy, or did drugs, or were careless and jumped off a bridge as a stunt. Cancer that already claimed her stomach, that took a vacation and now has claimed its stake once again on her delicate frame of a body. A virus that shuts down the organs of a 1-year-old, causing months of surgeries and procedures in the hopes that a miracle will occur and this baby will heal and live a long and healthy lifestyle. The list goes on, but I reserve the details because it’s too much to bear writing it all it out. Its hard enough that all these negative and awful things are filling my head day and night and the list continues to grow.

I’m angry and sad. I’m torn and confused. We beg and we plead. We can punch a bag or a wall or scream. But what I do best, is cry. My anger goes nowhere. It doesn’t help make me feel any better.

Today I had a wonderful vacation day with the kids (for about 1 hour). We went to see the stalactite caves. They fought on the way there, the entire trip, which was only 30 minutes. They whined as we waited to hear our number called to enter with our group. They complained the 150 stairs going down toward the cave. We watched a short film, that they could not understand because the Hebrew was way too fast and quite scientific. Finally we entered the cave. Very flipping cool. They installed new lighting so all these colored lights faced the formations, and changed colors as we watched the cool dripping ‘macaroni’ spikes turn from violet to blue and then to green and yellow, then orange and slightly pink until once again to violet. Even though the instructor repeatedly informed us not to use flash photography leave it up to us to not know how our camera works…and even though someone claims to have turned off the flash…yowzers did we get in trouble. We were warned that if we did it again, he’d take it from us. So that was embarrassing and everyone stared at us screaming, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!! in Heebs. Yes, I did feel like crying but I held back. I tried not letting it ruin our adventure. Also a BIG NO-NO was touching the formations, no matter how close they were to us. I was paranoid and kept grabbing little hands that were wandering close to the rope that separated us from years of cool drippage. The kids shouted out that they saw forms that looked like melting ice cream or The Capital (shout out D.C), or a toad or feet or snake-skin (yay imagination). We felt accomplished at the end and a bit dehydrated as we walked back up the 150 stairs to the top. We tried to help someone with a flat tire. We ate through 16 bags of chips, 7 apples, 2 oranges, a sleeve of cookies and some pretzels on the way home. All was A-OK until we reached the neighborhood, and all of a sudden…

…he noticed she was touching his leg. She felt her kicking the back of her seat. He pinched her. She was hungry. Her head hurt. He was so hot and so on for the 10 minutes until we reached the house. I asked everyone to carry something in and I got…but I’m so tired. My legs hurt. My mosquito bites are itchy, My blah blah blah is whatever, I stopped listening. I reminded them not to ruin a really fun day, that we were finishing it off with hot dogs and french fries and that everyone needed to help out in order to make things go faster.

And so while they set the table, I grabbed the Tylenol. I put the fries in the oven, I read my email. Why did I read my email? Why why why? And there it was. Bad news. That made me cry instantly. Sure I had a whole day full of frustrations that were just waiting and brimming but that one email was a blow to the heart. And so I cried. Am still crying. Even though “Paco” (aka #5) is bringing me pretend prizes and I am smiling as I ‘unwrap’ the Curious George, the felt flower, the Superman doll, the plastic backpacks, the finger puppet of a plastic dog…I am so sad.

What else can we do? I am feeling forlorn. Why does it feel like He has left us alone?

I know the answer. I know we must seek Him out and beg Him not to forget about us. I know we must be patient and pray and cry out to Him to have mercy on us. I look around at my ‘prizes’ and my healthy children and know I am blessed, that these terrible things have not happened to my personal family, yet it feels just as bad. It feels that I have lost something and I wonder how much more I can do or say the same things to help change the decree He has set forth. I know He is not bound by time, but we are. It feel like it’s already been so long. I am tired and weary of asking the same things over and over. I hope the day comes quickly when I get good news in my email, that these special people are given a clean bill of health and I can just cry about my lists of groceries or the line at the post office, or the bills to pay.

I am really looking forward to Oct. 18th when I’ll probably cry at my niece’s wedding. Like I said, I cry all the time…it comes easily for me, I am that sensitive. It helps me feel better even though I know it changes nothing. I do love my neighbor as I love myself. This is why it’s so hard to take in.

The third verse in Pirkei Avot (Teachings of our Fathers) reads:

“He (Antignus) used to say: Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving an award (prize)…And let the awe of Heaven be upon you.”

We serve G-d for the sole purpose of His greatness and not because we want a reward. Why would we receive the awe of Heaven and not G-d Himself? I read this answer and it helps me understand why I felt so alone and as if my prayers were being unanswered.

“The feeling of awe comes with the realization that G-d, on Whom we depend for our existence, is extremely distant. When we consider that the Holy One, Blessed is He, is in the Heavens while we are on earth, then the fear of Heaven grips us and the love of G-d will not nullify it.”

While G-d is all the way in Heaven and we are so distant here on earth we must continue to cry out so that He hears our pain, our wishes, our needs, our desires. My own children cry and whine repeatedly about the same thing and eventually I give in, if it’s not bad for them, I want them to be happy. I am not comparing myself to the Almighty, but as parents we guide our children, we give in when we can and when we say no, or He says no, it’s okay to cry.  I refer back to the second verse.

“The world depends on three things: on Torah study, on the service [of G-d], and on kind deeds.”

So today I fulfilled all three of these things, and all I can do now is cry. May I be granted the strength to continue to pray for those less fortunate than me. Please keep in mind these names when praying.

Rachel bas Rivka Leah (Rachel the daughter of Rebecca Leah), Tzuriyah Kochevet bat Sarah (Stella the daughter of Sarah)

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6 comments

  1. what a beautiful and thought provoking post! I have asked similar questions a lot of times. While I belong to a different religion, I am convinced we talk about the same God.

    When I couldn’t wait anymore I decided to ask questions and seek answers myself. I refused to accept that God did not exist. So, with this in heart and mind I had to find an answer to the suffering I saw around me. My first stop was Karma, the principle of people reaping the results of their actions in previous births. This did answer why some people suffered while others rejoiced.

    However, it did not answer the question why one person see varying phases of happiness and sadness in his life. Someone who’s happy one minute could face the biggest tragedy the next day.
    This brought me to astrology where positions of planets influences the type of phase a person goes through.

    My journey to seek answers continues. I hope it does not end in vain.

    1. Thanks so much, I do believe that we all pray to the same G-d. When we believe in a Higher Source, the yoke of burden is sometimes removed from our shoulders and we are not meant to understand EVERYTHING. Though He has granted us the power to think and create and dissect and understand very intricate matters, the end result is the same. We can not possibly understand why disease and misfortune sometimes happen to seemingly decent people. There is always a lesson to be learned. Have a wonderful week! Thanks for your kind words.

  2. You have hit perfectly on what so many of us are feeling. Thank you for putting it so beautifully. I pray with you that we reach the good news in our emails and that we have the strength to keep praying till we get there.

  3. Cheri,

    I am currently on the other side of things, battling and making my way through tests and exams that will, hopefully, turn up what’s ailing me. While dealing with such persistent symptoms is both difficult and stressful for me, it is equally so for those who love me. I know this, and I see your pain reflected in my loved ones’ faces. Rather than search for answers and ask God to answer me the way I wish to be answered, I have begun to pray for the strength to bear up under what He allows me to go through. This has helped tremendously, and also summating the answer into one word: trust. I must trust Him, I must have faith that He is working things for both my and His good.

    Praying for you and your loved ones!

    Blessings,
    Cara

    1. My heart goes out to you. Hopefully you’ll get answers soon and continue to be strong for those you love and support you, keep your faith, He knows how much we can handle and though it surprises us, it is always more than ever thought possible.

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