Dear Dr. Yael:
In the spirit of Chanukah, I wish to share a family miracle.
My story took place on the eve of Election Day. The children were off from school and I had a busy day. They wanted to go to the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall, but we had many chesed obligations, in addition to my son’s chavrusah session at 7 p.m. For both of those reasons, we never made it to the mall.
After hearing about the violence that took place at the mall that night, I kept wondering what would have happened to us had we been there. Would any of us been shot? Would my children have been traumatized by the tense situation? I remember feeling annoyed since I wanted to go to Macy’s, but all the chesed obligations and our son’s learning took priority. I later realized how Hashem protected us.
I learned a great lesson from our experience. You never know why you don’t end up going somewhere even though you planned to be there. You never know why you miss a plane or get caught in a traffic jam. One never knows Hashem’s greater plans.
Life’s challenges result in human annoyances, but we must maintain our belief that there is a reason for everything that happens. Some nissim are displayed publicly while others remain private, but when you truly believe that Hashem rules the world, you know that everything happens for the best.
Chanukah arrived early for my family and me.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. I truly believe that your chesed and the fact that you were running to help your son learn Torah helped save you from being in a dangerous and scary situation.
As you write, we truly never know why certain things happen to us. That’s why it is so important to not let the day’s trivial annoyances get to us. Thank you for highlighting this important lesson. Hatzlachah and may you continue to see dividends from your acts of chesed.
Dear Dr. Yael:
I always see the good in every person and every situation, all the while rolling with life’s punches. My husband, on the other hand, gets upset about every little thing. He is a nice person, but is always tense.
He comes from a home very much on edge, whereas my parents are more easygoing. I want him to simply enjoy life and share my nature of rolling with the punches. I know that I cannot undo my husband’s whole childhood but how can I help him learn to relax, be more flexible about things, and accept that everything is bashert? Please help me.
Thank you for your interesting and prevalent question. People often marry individuals whose personalities differ from theirs. As Hashem matches people with one another, perhaps your upbeat attitude is why He put you together with your husband. Maybe your husband has certain mailos (e.g. being more grounded and responsible than you) that went unmentioned. This may counteract your more laid-back approach.
You are quite perceptive in the way you see your situation, especially in your analysis of the differences between your husband’s and your family backgrounds. You are correct that you cannot change your husband’s upbringing, but you can help him deal with stressful everyday situations in a calm and loving manner. When daily events become stressful, urge him to take a deep breath and emphasize that the anxiety will pass.
Discuss this with your husband when he is calm and relaxed. This will ensure that you help him without being annoying during the stressful times. And underline the fact that you want a more relaxed life. Compliment him when he acts in a positive way (handling circumstances productively).
Discuss your different backgrounds and decide what you can do to make changes in your life. Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon.” This understanding will help you deal with your issues in a more positive way.
One of life’s great challenges is trying to use our different backgrounds as a way to help us deal more effectively with our issues. The more empathy you show your husband, the more he will be able to successfully confront and defeat his demanding tests. I wish you hatzlachah and hope that both of you grow through open communication.
Finally, seek professional help if you feel that it is required.
About the Author: Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Respler will be on 102.1 FM at 10:00 pm Sunday evenings after Country Yossi.
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