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"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Beginning to Understand

For years, I believed what I had been taught as a child about Yom Kippur and that time of year: behave, and you get inscribed for a good year. Misbehave, and you get punished.

Naturally, my prayers at that time of year focused on things I wanted in exchange for being good. And for years, I believed that I just wasn't quite "good enough": that some golden secret I couldn't unlock would take away all the bad in my life.

That doesn't work, though. Suffering is not always a punishment. Sometimes it is a learning experience, and no amount of praying will make it go away because God knows it shouldn't. As my mother says, "God always answers, but sometimes the answer is no." And I do believe that God knows best.

Besides, isn't the point of confronting our sins figuring out how to be a better person just because we know we should?

To that end, I have two goals for this year:

1. Never to speak negatively of others behind their backs. I have pretty much eliminated the sentence "I hate/dislike __________" from my vocabulary, but I can go so much farther.

2. To stop being proud of my suffering. I know I've been through a lot in life, and I'm pretty darn proud of myself for getting to where I am today. Nothing wrong with that. But I don't like to believe that others have suffered as much as I have; I like to think that my suffering makes me special. And there is something wrong with that. In the short term, my self esteem is based in something precarious (sooner or later, I will find someone who has undeniably suffered more than I); in the long term, such an attitude gets in the way of empathy.

So those are my goals for this year.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!