“Is everything okay?” I timidly asked in the examination room. I was anxiously waiting as the doctor was performing an ultrasound. She discovered a healthy heartbeat, and I breathed a sigh of relief. But that feeling was short-lived.
“I see a blood clot close to the baby.” My heart fell as I asked her what that meant.
She explained, “Well, yours is small. I once saw a patient with a huge clot, and I thought that her baby wasn’t going to live. But, sure enough, she had a full-term healthy baby, so anything is possible.”
It doesn’t matter how small the risk is; when dealing with pregnancy, we feel so vulnerable. Statements like the one my doctor made are bound to create some uncertainty.
I remember arriving home from the doctor that day feeling helpless. I sat down and visualized myself leaning back into Hashem’s presence. I thought: I have no choice but to give my burden to G-d. I realized that my body was Hashem’s vessel and, regardless of the outcome, it was all in His hands.
I was able to gather my strength and pray, “G-d, I’m no tzadekes, but I’m going to try to relinquish control. Right now, I will turn to You, despite my fear. Right now, I’m uncertain, but I know in my heart that You know what’s best. I ask that You please give me a healthy child, but ultimately I submit my will to Yours. ”
That day, in a rare moment of clarity, I crowned Hashem as my king and I surrendered. After turning towards G-d in that way, I was able to continue my day with a calmness I didn’t previously feel.
Although this incident occurred nowhere near the High Holidays, it was something akin to a personal Rosh Hashanah for me – and it trickled into other areas of my everyday life. When I felt anxious or fearful, I was able to remember that crowning Hashem brings peace of mind, and it gave me strength to continue on.
One of my students was once struggling to give her own burden to G-d, so I shared the following with her: At a beautiful bar mitzvah, I noticed the party planner moving throughout the room giving directives to the staff, making sure the party went smoothly. At the end of the party, she looked exhausted.
Now that my husband and I are planning our own bar mitzvah, we are beginning to understand the amount of work and detailed planning that goes into making one. The amount of preparation necessary, from the bar mitzvah boy as well as the parents, to make one party is immeasurable.
I said to my student: “Look at all the effort that goes into planning one 4-hour event. And we want to control our own lives 24/7? Give your burden to G-d, and let Him do His job.”
On Rosh Hashanah we are judged, and the course of our lives for the year ahead is predetermined. That can be frightening, but perhaps that is also what it means to crown Hashem with malchut. We must allow our limited selves to take a step back, lean into Hashem’s presence, and trust that whatever outcome occurs, we can embrace it with Hashem’s help. I was able to do this after visiting the doctor that day, and I hope to continue to do that in my daily life.
With much gratitude to Hashem, I gave birth on Rosh Hashanah that year to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. We named her Livia, which means “to crown” (see Mishlei 1:9). This year, and every year, may we learn to crown Hashem and, in return, may He fill us with unbounded blessings, beyond the scope of our imagination. Shana tovah!