Thursday, February 5, 2009

"May the Lord...."

"May the Lord protect and defend you.
May He always shield you from shame.
May you come to be
In Israel a shining name.

May you be like Ruth and like Esther.
May you be deserving of praise.
Strengthen them, Oh Lord,
And keep them from the strangers' ways...".
- "Sabbath Prayer

from "Fiddler on the Roof"

So, here it is, Dayenu Part Two (if you haven't read the previous post - scroll down to the next article below this one - it might help to understand what I am talking about) was like God said, "Okay, you think this is so easy...time to head into the lab and do some real scientific application of this law of Dayenu. 

I failed.  Miserably.

Monday morning I wrote the earlier post below, " would have been enough" and Tuesday morning all hell broke loose.  Or so it felt.  The battery on my alarm clock must have run out of enough juice to keep accurate time somewhere in the middle of the night, but a phone call came in only 5 minutes after what I had set the alarm for and I was fully awake in seconds...Dayenu...even if God had only intervened and woken me up on would have been enough!

The girls started in on eachother at the breakfast table, but at least they were dressed and ready to head out the door...Dayenu - it would have been enough!

I won't drag this out...

We finally got backpacks, lunches, band instruments, and clothed, shod, fed, and brushed daughters (not horses) out the door and into the car....Dayenu.

As we backed out of the driveway and headed down our little lane towards the main road to school I remembered that I didn't have my cellphone - so grateful for the divine reminder...Dayenu.

As we backed up, quickly returning to our driveway, Emma noticed a stream of water pouring out from under our car. She pointed it out to me.  I was so grateful. We were close to home, able to pull back into our driveway - at this point you should read, "oh my gosh, I am so glad we were not broken down on Clayton Road, with me in my nightgown and just a parka over top. Oh, and sweatpants pulled on hastily....Dayenu...BIG Dayenu.

We walked back in the house and I immediately picked up the phone to call the girls' dad. He assured me that he could come pick them up so they wouldn't be late for school - he was on our doorstep in less than 15 minutes...Dayenu.

I called my husband who is on assignment in another city, he picked up his cell phone immediately and within minutes he called me back having arranged for AAA to come tow the car, and for the repair shop to accept it into their queque, bumping it up in their list of urgent need cases....Dayenu.

But that's about where my Dayenu resevoir started to sputter....I lost it when I couldn't find the extra set of keys to send with the AAA driver.

You would think all those Dayenus would have me singing "El Shaddai" in the shower, but no.  It had me bawling my eyes out while my husband sat speechless on the other end of the phone in Boston.

I couldn't see beyond the empty hook where my keys should have been. 

Something in me forgot that God was with me and that He, God, always had the best interests of His children at heart.   I forgot all the cases of precedence set by Hebrew families escaping the tyranny of Pharoah's Egypt, the bravery of a boy with five smooth stones facing Goliath of Gath, a pregnant young girl with only an angel's message to strengthen her resolve, and a boy with a mission to heal and save.  I forgot.  And because I forgot, I felt alone and frightened.

As each seemingly insurmountable - at least to me in my state of terror - challenge presented itself over the ensuing 24 hours, I battled...and held at bay...those fears, but without the natural joy and confidence that comes from looking back at how good God had already been to me, and mine, and all the children of the Most High he had cared for through the centuries.

And it was getting worse....

I had lost my focus on Dayenu, and was looking around every corner anticipating the next "surprise," trying to anticipate how I would collect the chiilden from school, get to church, visit patients, buy groceries. Thank goodness for the kindness of a dear friend....again, and again, and again.

But finally I had a sweet breakthrough...or should I say God broke through my myopia. 

I was walking to the Starbucks near our home for an "office" appointment, and as I reached the curb - pushing the button that would briefly stop busy traffic so that I could cross safely - I felt this overwhelming surge of " would have been enough!" gratitude for that crosswalk signal.  It was an extremely cold day, I was not as well prepared for how the wind would affect my perception of temperatures as I should have been...and it was bitterly cold.  I was so grateful that, "Even if all this day held for me was a very quickly responding crosswalk signal, would have to be...but no, that's not what the word means...Dayenu means "it would have BEEN enough".   The word Dayenu stands at the other side of the Red Sea and says..."Wow, even if we had only made it here...but we didn't, we made it all the way across on dry land because the sea split....but even if it hadn't, it would have been enough."

I needed to trust that verb tense...I needed to see myself on the other side of the Red Sea looking back at two walls of water on either side of a dry path through the sea's sandy, shell-strewn floor collapsing and returning to a living, life-suppporting, healthy sea full of whale, porpoise, crab, kelp, and sea anemones. 

So I started over...."Dayenu, even if all God did was save me from finding myself on the side of the road in my nightie and would have been enough!" But that wasn't never is!

No matter where you find yourself in any given moment, remember how far God has already taken you, see yourself on the other side...whether the other side is a bright morning after a long, dark night of pain and sorrow, the unforseeable resolution to a seemingly endless series of financial woes, the peace that follows a tsunami of fear and worry...see yourself there, looking back at the Red Sea He has parted, and will always, part for you. 

Dayenu is a Sabbath prayer....the sabbath worshippers were celebrating the Passover...the Shabbat meal.  The celebration of "And the Lord saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good.  Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."  How could I have missed that.  Dayenu was a benediction....not a prayer of petition. would have been enough...again.

with love,


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