Today is a special day for me. A few years ago I came unbelievably close to becoming a vegetable or dying. Luckily I didn’t. Ever since that fateful moment, I make a point of celebrating this anniversary.
I’m grateful to be alive most days. But since that event, I make a point of waking up every morning and reciting a prayer that goes like this:
“I give thanks to you God, who is alive and present in the world, that you returned my soul to me. How great is your faith.”
I used to say that prayer every morning when I was a little girl. At some point, I let that daily ritual lapse. I no longer recall how or where. Later, as an adult, the few times I actually thought about it, I was puzzled by the second part of the prayer- how great is your faith. What was that all about?
Yet, somehow, I knew in my bones, that it was time to reinstate it, after I got my second chance at life.
See, the second part of that prayer made perfect sense to me the day I woke up after my near accident. Not only was I still alive and breathing, but the divine had faith in me- no matter what I’d done, no matter how badly I’d screwed up.
I need those reminders. I’ve certainly made some whoppers of mistakes, perhaps none bigger than that night a few years ago.
Running against a red light, I smacked into a fast moving car on the side, and was spun to the ground. A fragment of a fraction of a second earlier, I would have stepped in front of that same car. The young driver was fully in the right, but I doubt that would have helped him much had he maimed or killed me.
I felt deep guilt and shame. I kept replaying how those moments could have turned out differently.
My kids and husband might have been left with a comatose or severely disabled mom to take care for the rest of their lives. Or they might not have had a mom at all. That moment could have been the one that nothing was ever the same for them, all because I was in a rush to get home.
Yet that night my soul was restored to me. I got another chance.
When I said the prayer the following morning, I realized the creative life force that sustains my breath, my blood flow, my digestion and so many other miraculous goings on in my body and mind, is faithfully present in me. That immense force still moves through me, and that moves me at times to tears: to think that no matter what kind of day I’ve had, no matter how I’ve blundered, fallen or slipped, that divine energy is in me. Little ol’ full of imperfections and mistakes me.
So this morning I got up and once again joyfully appreciated that I am still in this universe and that this universe still has faith in me.
It’s a beautiful warm sunny day here in Jerusalem. I brushed my teeth, drank some coffee, and took a walk and foraged some wild greens in the fields near my house. I made an omelet from those greens and ate it. Then I sat on my porch and had an afternoon cuppa tea. Tonight I will go out dancing with some of my women friends as part of an event to raise money for indigent elderly.
But even on the days when I won’t be able to luxuriate in this way I will still recite this prayer. Even on those days I’ll end up dealing with frustrating errands and bureaucracy, piles of work, annoying neighbors or hostile strangers, I will still give thanks for being alive. And on the days when I majorly screw up, I’ll appreciate the divine’s unconditional faith in me.
I’d love to hear back from you. Have you ever royally screwed up? Were you able to forgive yourself? What did you learn from that?