We all go through our share of pain in this world, and we all want the pain to go away immediately. Especially when it comes to the pain of our children.
When a child is small we try to make sure that they won’t fall down and hurt themselves. When they become a bit older we want to make sure that they have good friends that don’t hurt their feelings, and when they get even older we want to make sure they marry the best person, so that their spouses will treat them well.
Throughout our lives we are constantly trying to protect our child no matter their age.
When I was a young mother with two small babies, a neighbor with children older than mine, used to say:
“Small children, small problems, big children big problems.” At the time as a new and young mother I didn’t appreciate that remark at all. And I would brush her off by telling her she knew not what she was talking about.
Twenty-five years later with grown children at my side, her words of wisdom echo in my ears daily.
When the children are small we as parents can fix almost any pain they have with a hug or a treat; a little toy or a fun afternoon at the park.
As our children go through their experiences, we suddenly stop to think about our parents and all we put them through as children, and as adults as well.
I have a child who is a young adult, who is currently going through a particularly hard time. And I find myself constantly trying to take the pain away, and I simply cannot.
In this week’s portion, Parshat Miketz, we see Yosef, the son of the patriarch Yaakov, finally rising up to glory, after years of suffering.
How did Yosef make it through his hard times? And how much suffering did his father go through during the years of Yosef’s disappearance?
As hard a time as Yosef had, suffering all those years, his father’s pain was worse. Each child has a special place in their parent’s heart. And if a child is suffering the parents feel as if it were his own, especially the mother.
From the day a child is conceived, the bond between mother and child begins. It then follows childbirth and nursing, the first very physical years of bringing them up and throughout life, always trying to be there for them, no matter what.
When Yaakov was missing Yosef, and wondering what had really happened to him, he immediately thought of all the years he was apart from his parents and how they must have always worried about him as well.
This world is a circle and what goes around comes around. Pain or suffering our parents experienced from us, will at some point return to us. Hashem in his infinite mercy, wants to reward us for our good deeds and tries to lessen our pain and suffering from the things we did wrong and have to pay for.
As I go through my regular activities of the day and night, I can’t stop thinking about my son, who is not by my side, who is suffering greatly from a terrible accident he went through recently. Thank goodness he is alive, and, the damages are not so severe. However the rehabilitation time that he must go through is long and painful. This is his pain, his experience that he must go through, in order for him to come out healthier and stronger than before. And yet, my heart aches for him every second that I’m awake. I cannot make his healing go faster, nor can I do the physical and emotional work he must do by himself.
Throughout this very trying experience, I keep seeing my parents in front of my mind, suffering as I am now, during hard times I went through in my life. I feel that through the pain and suffering my son is going through, I am reliving the pain of my past experiences.
How I wish I could take my son’s pain away. How I wish I could buy him some treat and make things all better. How I wish he was young again and I could protect him from all harmful things. How I wish I had a magic wand that makes everything just the way we want.
Hashem has that magic wand. And Hashem knows exactly what has to happen at all times. In dark and difficult times, it’s so hard to see the light or feel that “magic” in the air. What is usually felt is sadness and despair.
Let us pray that during the darkest nights of the year, the light of the Chanukah candles will stay with us throughout the entire year. Lighting and shining into those dark places that we wish didn’t exist in our lives.
May my son, Shlomo ben Michal, heal quickly, and may Hashem shine his goodness on all his children so that we may all heal from any sadness or darkness we may be going through, and see only goodness and light.