Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Appreciating Miracles

When do Miracles begin?

I mean, at what point during a Miracle does it happen that we all wake up and realize that it's going on right in front of our eyes?

Chanukah is a time most of us ask these kinds of questions. We can so easily see all the nissim that took place in the Chanukah story but that's because we're looking back at it, years and years later.

When did people start exclaiming, "It's a miracle!!!"? When they found the oil? When it burned for 8 days? When they defeated the Greeks? When Yehudis brought back Eliporni's head? All of the above?

There were so many miracles of Chanukah, I have to wonder if each and every one was noticed and appreciated when it took place, or if it was only seen in hindsight.

Yesterday my miracle began with my son vomiting all over our car. We're talking serious stuff. Like his throw up landing on the windshield all the way from his car seat in the back.

His new coat, his pants, his car seat, his teddy bear, everything was covered.

We were on the way to an appointment and couldn't turn back so we had to strip my kid in the parking lot of random store and wrap him in a fuzzy blanket for the rest of the time. I had to sit in the back with him in my lap, praying that he didn't throw up again and that I wouldn't either.

For the rest of the day I was busy bathing him, washing his stinky stuff, feeding him, cuddling with him, and asking him how his tummy was doing.

Later at night he refused to go to sleep, he only wanted to sit with me and cuddle while I read a book. He was talking away, telling me the kind of warbled stories and thoughts that can only exist in the head of an almost two year old.

When he fell asleep I put him in his crib, covered him up to his chin, gave him a kiss and went on to do everything else that a Mommy has to do before she goes to sleep herself.

I walked into the dining room to close the shades now that the Menorah had finished burning, and realized that it was the third night of Chanukah- exactly five years to the day that I met my husband. Seems like ages ago that I met him in pajamas with a huge mask covering my face, but it wasn't, it was only five years ago.

Five years ago it seemed like I was at my worst- like things were never going to get better. Like I was never going to have hair again, never going to finish treatments, never going to get out of the dark.

But then, at a most unexpected time, my miracle began. I met my husband. None of us knew at the time where that meeting would being us five years later, but looking back, I can definitely say that was the start of my miracle.

Or maybe it wasn't.

Maybe it started when I got sick. Because if I hadn't then I never would have become close to my teacher and my father would never have met her and never considered setting her up with the man who later became my husband.

Or maybe it started when my husband caught a ride home from Shul one Motzai Shabbos with my mother years and years ago. My mother always drives over to pick my father up from Shul and gives rides to the men who are on the way home. Once, a million years ago, my husband got a ride with my parents and it was actually my mother, not my father who thought of my husband when she met my teacher.

Who knows when that miracle began. Maybe it began before we were born.

No, not maybe. I don't doubt it. Because looking back, it's obvious that it was all planned. And it must have been planned way in advance seeing how far back and how many conditions had to be met in order for us to meet and marry each other.

So yesterday, my miracle began when my son threw up. I don't really know what the miracle was or is or will turn out to be, but I decided that I might as well appreciate it.

After all, it led to a day full of cuddles and coziness and warmth and joy and a lot of appreciation for where I am five years to the day I met my husband. Every day is a miracle- even when it's not something definite, something we can pinpoint and put our fingers on, it's still part of a much larger plan that will bring us to bigger and better things.

I'm not sure when I'll be looking back at my life and recognize a Nes years after it took place. If I can somehow find a way to appreciate every part of every day, every second that might be the building block to a bigger, more special moment in time, why not start now?

So my miracle yesterday started with throw up... Hey, anythings' possible!

May we all be zoche to experience miracles and appreciate them for what they are.

15 comments:

tembow said...

wow!!!! ur amazing

SIS said...

Beautiful. I admire your ability to see the goodness in life, and I admire your ability to put it down on "paper." Thanks for sharing! A freilichen Chanukah to you!

RivkaC said...

Hi! My name is Rivka and I read your book and I laughed and cried and it was amazing. You really inspired me with the way you saw humor in a lot of the difficult situations you were going through. I especialy like that you gave your headache and stomach ache names-Louis and David-I think. I would love to know if you are speaking at any function in Boro Park. Have a Freilichen Chanuka.

Ezzie said...

That was beautiful and well said. Chanukah Sameach!

Ezzie said...

Also, sounds like you already have at least one reason why this happened. :)

Something Different said...

Wow. That was very beautiful. And thought provoking. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I read your interview in the family first , you are really getting popular!

RCP said...

You're beautifully written post reminds me of an observation made by Rav Kook z”l. He said that when an individual is on a lower spiritual plain, he or she can only discern G-d’s involvement in this world by witnessing overt miracles. However, when a person graduates to higher spiritual plain – he or she doesn’t need overt miracles to see G-d’s hand in this world. Such a person is able to identify miracles (or in other words, G-d’s intervention) in the natural order or the regular course of events.

J.A.P. said...

Thank you everyone. I'm glad you liked the post. :-)

RivkaC- I don't have any Boro Park speeches scheduled as of now, but I live there so you might bump into me in the Kollel grocery sometime. :-)

Anonymous- did you also see my short story in the Teen Pages of the Mishpacha? I'm really excited that I got the opportunity to write for them this week. I'd love to expand my writing career and take it further than just Miracle Ride so this was a great opening for me. I'd love to hear feedback from anyone who read the short story.

RCP- That was nice, thanks for sharing!

A Freilichen Chanukah everyone!

Anonymous said...

Real feedback?

Leah said...

Hi! I am a new reader on your blog (after reading abt it in the family first) and am only upset I didn't find it 15 months earlier when I was diagnosed with Hodgekin's (on my 2nd anniversay)
Of course I read your book as soon as it came out but that was 3 months after I finished chemo. I heard you speak at RCCS in Lkwd and was so inspired. Even though I tried to go on my "ride" with a positive attitude, I could not get over the huge smile you had on your face in all the pics in your scrapbook. Your great attitude is even more inspiring to those who can relate! As for the points on this blog, I'd like to tell you about a line I got- I b"h did not have such a difficult ordeal and I was able to work every second week, so one day I came to work and someone told me-oh your life is not really different now-you just have a diff. schedule!!
OMG- if only I had your guts and could've asked her if she ever dreamed of her family sitting shiva for her! I wanted to strangle her!!!
But anyway as long as we can keep smiling and thanking Hashem (esp. on Chanukah- a time of nissim)!!

lol said...

Hi! I am a new reader on your blog (after reading abt it in the family first) and am only upset I didn't find it 15 months earlier when I was diagnosed with Hodgekin's (on my 2nd anniversay)
Of course I read your book as soon as it came out but that was 3 months after I finished chemo. I heard you speak at RCCS in Lkwd and was so inspired. Even though I tried to go on my "ride" with a positive attitude, I could not get over the huge smile you had on your face in all the pics in your scrapbook. Your great attitude is even more inspiring to those who can relate! As for the points on this blog, I'd like to tell you about a line I got- I b"h did not have such a difficult ordeal and I was able to work every second week, so one day I came to work and someone told me-oh your life is not really different now-you just have a diff. schedule!!
OMG- if only I had your guts and could've asked her if she ever dreamed of her family sitting shiva for her! I wanted to strangle her!!!
But anyway as long as we can keep smiling and thanking Hashem (esp. on Chanukah- a time of nissim)!!

Anonymous said...

yup....i remember that night five years ago - wow!
is it time for another cat in the hat poem ;)

LadyD said...

This is so beautiful, it really got me thinking. It opened my eyes yet again to all the miracles around us, which we never take the time to see.

With all the Tzuros going on around us, seeing Hashem's miracles is the only way of getting us through the day.

Zeeskeit said...

I guess all our lives are just one big Miracle Ride - but ya gotta remember that even when the times are tough. B/c like you say eventually you'll look back at the whole picture and smile!

I loved your "Jumping from a tree" story. I think teens should be inundated with eye opening stories like that with the message of "It takes courage, but being yourself and going at your pace is the best way to go!"

Gr8 post and can't wait to read more of your stuff out there!