Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And More About Worrying

It was close to eight in the morning, less than five minutes after we had left our village, when the car I was in approached the Shilo Junction. The driver clucked her tongue and mumbled, “Poor things”. I looked up and saw the focus of her sympathy. Two young women stood next to their crashed car. With long faces they surveyed the damage. The front left side was smashed in and the headlight shattered. The car would have to be towed. Thankfully, the two of them appeared uninjured. Enough people had stopped to help so my driver continued on her way. She expressed thankfulness that the women were okay. I, on the other hand, began to panic.

Some vehicle had run into that car. Where was it? Who was inside it? My youngest daughter had slept at her sister’s home in Ramat Gan the night before. She had taken a ride that was supposed to get her to Shilo in time to be at work at eight o’clock. While I was still in Shilo she had called me but I had not answered the phone in time. When I immediately called her back there was no answer. At the time I assumed she was without phone reception or had suddenly become busy and unable to talk. Now the unanswered call took on a whole new perspective.
Did she not answer because she was, G-d forbid, in the accident? Was she now on the way to the hospital? We had a wedding the following night, the wedding of her good friend who is also the daughter of my good friend. We were both so excited to go!  What would happen if she was in the hospital?
In my mind I knew I was being ridiculous. No news is good news. In my emotions, however, I was out of control. My imagination was speeding faster than any driver could ever dream of racing a car. Fifteen minutes later when my phone rang and I heard my daughter’s voice I cried with relief. And then I laughed at myself.
The day passed and I finished what I needed to do in Jerusalem. Determined to get home as soon as possible I found myself running to the Shilo bus stop. Worried that I might have missed the bus I turned around to check the numbers on the buses stopped at the traffic light. I did not stop running, though, and I plowed right into a signpost. It hurt! I screamed! What I really wanted to do was sit down and wail. Since I was in public, I controlled myself.
Thankfully my glasses were not broken. I had a bottle of cold water in my hand and I kept it on my face for the next hour. I just knew my face would be black and blue the next morning. Would I be a sight at the wedding!
I do not believe that HaShem wanted me to be punished when I ran into the signpost. I do believe, however, that he was sending me a message, a strong message with a heavy question. Do I believe the words that I say every day when I pray?
Do I accept that it is HaShem Who has provided for all of my needs as I say in the morning blessings? Do I trust that HaShem is righteous in all of His ways and pious in all of His deeds as I praise Him in Ashrei? Do I think it is true that it is HaShem Who sustains the living with kindness as I affirm when I recite the Silent Meditation? If yes, then before I fall asleep every night and I declare that HaShem is with me and I will not fear, the last line of Adon Olam, I should believe it.
In the end, although it was sore, I had no visible swelling or bruising on my face. As I stood in the wedding hall I prayed that my friend’s daughter and her new husband would be able to build a successful marriage and a true house of Torah among the people of Israel in the land of Israel.  There were many things I could have thought about to worry for them. They have the army, the financial concerns of young couples, and the normal adjustment to marriage ahead of them. I decided to leave those worries to HaShem. Instead I danced for the bride and her mother with joy.   

                                            My daughter and I safe and well at the wedding.
Ashrei: Praise
Adon Olam: Master of the Universe

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