Monday, October 08, 2007

Why Bother?

I have a friend who was sick at about the same time that I was. She reads this blog every so often and said she didn't mind if I put her incident up on here.

Towards the end of her treatments, the doctors found another small tumor that they weren't sure what to do with. My friend and her family were scared stiff until she finally heard that all she would need was a small minimally invasive surgery to get it all out and never hear about it again.

Her only side effect would be some minor discomfort- which we have already established, means severe pain for three or four days. It was no big deal after all she'd been through over the past year, but like anyone, she and her family were nervous, scared, and worried before the big day.

A day before her surgery, she met the mother of a fellow patient in a shop and as things go between cancer patients/affiliates, they began talking about how she was doing and how this lady's daughter was.

The woman asked how things were and my friend told her that things were so/so and that all she could do was daven and have emunah and trust that everything would be okay.

The lady asked my friend why she bothered.

My friend was shocked. Obviously, so am I, which is why this is going up on my blog.


I can only believe that this woman's daughter was very ill and she felt so lost and had no direction and felt too hopeless to give her hopes to a greater power. I feel sorry if that is the case.

But why bother?!

Tefilla has been our connection to Hashem all through the ages! Even if not text-book davening, but just a short phrase of "Thank you", a bracha, an "oh please G-d, don't do this to me!" We pray all the time.

I remember a sixth grade teacher once opened her Chumash to the right page without trying. She just held the book loosely in her hands and it fell open to the posuk we were learning that day.

She looked up and said clearly, "Thank you Hashem!"

We were all laughing at her until she explained to us that if we can beg Hashem for good things, why can't we thank him? Even for the little things. It was a chessed to her that her page was the right one and that she didn't have to flip around until she found it.

That really hit home. Since then Hashem has always seemed approachable. Like I was allowed to talk to him and say please and thank you and it didn't have to be from the siddur. It could be from me.

When I was sick, I didn't have the strength to daven each day, but I always felt like I could ask for whatever I needed and say thank you too. Hashem was with me always. Even when I had my hard times in the beginning of that year, I still felt that He was there.

When I was sick, I appreciated so much the people who had me in mind during their tefillos. It meant to world to know that my name was being said and given over to a higher power. My recovery wasn't up to ME , it was up to HIM.

It was a nice feeling to leave someone else in charge. I worried- of course I did. But I also knew that I could ask and that He would listen.

My friend was shocked at this lady's response. Why bother???

Why bother?? Because Hashem WANTS you to bother! He wants to hear from you! He might not give you everything you want, but he wants you to bother otherwise he'd make life so good, you'd never need to bother.

And if you don't bother davening, what is it that you rely on? Who can you lean on when you cant' stand alone? It must be such a lonely feeling to think that there is no one out there who will listen when you call. And such a bad feeling to think that when you do call it wont be heard. So why bother?

You know what? Who knows? Who knows what His cheshbonos are? I don't. But I do know that when I bother, it gives me something to lean on and strength to go on.

It's like that poem I wrote in an earlier post- He's holding my Hand. That's exactly why I bother. Because I might not know where He's taking me, but I know that when I bother to hold his hand and believe that he'll lead me right- like a father to a child, life becomes so much more worth living.

That's why we bother.


chchick said...

I have to say that I am amazed and dismayed by the reaction of this patients mother. From my experiences with a sick child all I can say that the parents that I met in the hospital were the most faithful and believing people that I ever met. Through all their yesurim all you heard was their belief that Hashem would bring their refuah, bikarov, bimhayra...yeshuas hashem kiheref ayin...I never detected any anger or resentment to G-d, or even apathy.
Now my daughter is a very regular davener. I think even on her sickest days she managed to daven. I on the other hand do not especially enjoy davening and find the less commonly said prokim of Tehillim a little on the difficult side to say. So whenever I would get a call from someone telling me that they were davening for her, or saying a Mishebayrach in shul I would be brought to tears, I think of gratefulness. Grateful that near strangers were davening for my daughter and also guilt that I "couldn't be bothered". Because I knew that it was the right thing to do even if I wasn't doing it. We have to remember that when one is lucky enough to have a refuah Shlaima it's not because the doctor did such a good job, but because Hashem made sure to make them the Shliach.

Bas~Melech said...

Another great post from the heart. Thanks.

Bas~Melech said...

Oh, and one of chchick's statements reminded me of another point -- A lot of people, especially young people who have been raised in frum schools (PLEASE do not take this as a criticism of frum schools -- I am just observing a phenomenon) are under the mistaken impression that prayer is all about stumbling over incomprehensible words in tehillim. While tehillim is both powerful and beautiful, everything has it's place and it's important for every person to know that even if the find formal prayer too difficult, their channels of communication with HaShem are wide open.

I am still struggling mightily because of this mistaken feeling which I harbored for most of my childhood.

Anonymous said...

I just found your story recently. I was amazed. Just letting you know.

You should really write a book. I would be your first costumer.

Thanks for the really great inspiration!

StillinShidduchim said...

What a beautiful, inspiring post. Thank you.

little sheep said...

this is not the first time i read this post, but i just wanted to tell you that every time i read anything you write about davening, emunah, bitachon..i get so jealous!

i'm having a lot of trouble wording what i want to say, so i guess i'll just leave it at that...