Be honest here. When was the last time you felt like saying (or screaming) to the almighty: Why Me?
This set of words sadly comes to mind so often and to so many people. Some think it, some actually say it. But some should perhaps say it more often…!
A couple of days before Shavuos, my friend shared with me an unusual comment he heard from his personal trainer, a very athletic fellow, but unfortunately, a heartbroken Jew. Between vigorous workouts, he shared some of his pain about his own Matzev, his life, his wife, his kids…the works. But before jumping back to the next round, he said casually: this way I know God is paying particular attention to me, I’m not a ‘run of the mill’ case.
The incredible strength and connection behind this track of mind kept my mind very active and mesmerized during Yom Tov. How can a person take daily troubles, aggravation, tzaar gidul banim, and call it a treat? To say that this guy makes “Lemonade out of Lemons” is an understatement. I’d rather say this guy is making “Sushi out of Grass.”
Where does one take this level of strength and such a mindset? A sick child, two older children stuck with shidduchim, financial troubles, etc., and the guy is seeing it as ‘special attention.’
Halel, the magnificent prayer, saved for special, joyful and uplifting occasions, is perhaps teaching us a new meaning for the “Why Me” phrase. When in our hectic life, are we ever stopping for a moment and thinking: Why did I have such a fantastic Yom tov? Why did my child bring home such an incredible report card? Or why did the recent deal go through so smoothly? Halel is an amazing assembly of appreciation and thankfulness, which when one concentrates on its meaning, wakes up our awareness to the abundance of Hashem’s goodness being bestowed upon us, and can perhaps awake a “why me” thought in us.
For some reason, we choose to use the ‘Why Me’ for the less exciting events in our life, why is my life so hard? Why am I having difficulties being accepted to Yeshivos and schools, while my friends are sailing thru the process? Why is the process of getting my son out of bed a major daily struggle, while his friends ‘seem’ to go hassle free? Why, why? Am I really that bad and unfortunate? Can I get a V.I.P. pass for a change? What happened to the excellent “Why Me-s” in our life? Why is our child not in a Boston hospital c”v? Why do we have two healthy sets of in-laws, while our friend just lost a mother and her father in law is exhausting her husband with the endless care and attention he needs? How about focusing more on the fortunate “why Me-s”?
Besides, so often when we seem to envy our relatives or friends for the so-called, glitzy times in their lives, we can’t even imagine how much pain or bluff is stored underneath it. You know the famous story of the lady who came back from her friend’s sons Bar Mitzvah, fussing to her husband why can she get such a stunning diamond choker, and I have to be thrilled with my dated Jewelry being polished for our simches? As she was insisting and driving him nuts, he gathered his guts and asked his 9-5 employed friend, did you hit the jackpot lately with that snobby choker? His friend reluctantly shared with him about the ‘world war three’ they had for few months before the Bar Mitzvah, and the only way she was willing to show up to “her own son’s simcha” was for him to ‘choke’ with a loan, and get her that choker. Is this also a classic “why me” we’d like to experience?
We’re all looking for bright spots in life, often they’re hidden behind a vigorous routine, and yes, more often than not, we have our “why me” moments, let’s train ourselves to control the narrative and remember to point out the positive ‘why me-s’, Oy Hashem: you’re so awesome, I’m thrilled with the Shidduch we just made, Why Me? When we meet a Rebbe or principal and hear good regards on our kids. Let us acknowledge the “particular attention” we’re getting from Hashem, and hopefully he will continue giving us attention’ in the plus column.
Recently I was fortunate to coach a family with struggles they were having with their daughter’s Yidishkeit, (no slangs or codes necessary) the pain was vast, but to their big credit and b’seyate d’shmaye they were great in demonstrating a ton of tolerance, and Buruch Hashem, she’s back in town. By now she had even expressed her readiness to empower and help a friend “find herself.” She recently shared with me one of her best-kept secrets, that one of the strong ropes that kept her somewhat connected to the family, was a card her mother gave her in the past, when she, the girl, was very sick (which was sadly one of the triggers for her loss of connection). In one of the care packs her mother brought to the hospital, the mother complimented her, among other things, for never asking: Why me? Why from her entire class and family, she had to be the sick and unlucky girl?! This amazing observation and unique note of respect helped her feel mature and independent, and keep her family roots in a back pocket for a time in need. What a great mother and special daughter that search, and actually find sparks of encouragement even during the darkest of days, physically and emotionally.
Oh, how powerful two words can be! I think it’s time to begin a “Blissful Why Me” movement. Are you in?
Aron Blum is an accomplished certified coach, committed to helping people navigate their personal and Business encounters. He is head of SCC, Success Coaching Center, a prestigious coaching practice, based in Brooklyn NY. He can be reached at email@example.com