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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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A Word Of Thanks

Lessons-061413

“A few days later, the general called me into his office to receive my paycheck. One glance at the amount told me there was an error, and it was not in my favor. All of the pain from the last two years simmered inside of me, threatening to burst forth from my heart like a jet of fire. I gave them my life, and this is how they treat me? My face reddened, and I could feel steam gushing from my ears. Opening my mouth to let the general have it, I stopped and remembered. How quickly I have fallen, I realized, picturing myself crouched over the ground in earnest prayer. And over a few dollars…”

A few days passed. Our community breathed a collective sigh of relief as the news circulated that the Harrises were being discharged from the hospital. They faced a lengthy recuperation, but they would be okay. Keeping them in my tefillos, I continued to prepare for Pesach with its myriad details.

On the last school day before Pesach break, a brilliant sun smiled down on me as I ran out of the house, armed with a to-do list a mile long. Just as I closed the car door, my daughter called me from school. “Can you bring my lunch?” she wanted to know.

“Will do,” I replied, making an effort to sound calm and cheerful. Once inside, I remembered to do one more task before leaving. Then off I went, feeling like a virtuous mother as I pulled up to the school office. I turned off the car and reached for her lunch. But where was it? I checked the seat, the floor, and the back of the car. You’re kidding! I didn’t really leave it sitting on the kitchen table, did I? With a long, suffering sigh, I turned the car back on and retraced my steps, retrieving her lunch and heading back to her school.

Here’s your chance! It was that voice, the voice of my epiphany and my father-in-law’s timeless story combined. Don’t blow it, Yehudis!

Okay, Hashem, here goes. May this tiny inconvenience be a kapparah – and thank You for letting it be so small. I am healthy, everything’s fine, and I have no reason in the world to complain. And then I felt it: a small bubble of gratitude welling up inside of me, growing larger and larger as if wafting heavenward. Tears filled my eyes as I said with a full heart, “Thank you, Hashem, for all the gifts You give me constantly. Thank you for my life and my family on this glorious day.”

And I meant it.

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