Tuesday, March 21, 2006

out of control

When Nechama was sick, I made 2 trips to Eretz Yisroel to beseech the gedolim to pray for Nechama and perhaps get a blessing for her recovery.
I did not leave empty handed. each trip consisted of 18 hours of shuttling between gedolim and several experiences made a lasting impression
(Perhaps it is fodder for a subsequent post). One gadol in particular recommended a few different steps , of a spiritual nature. In return, he gave his blessing that Nechama Liba would have a complete recovery.
I made my sincerest effort to fulfill my end of the bargain to the best of my ability. However, the complete recovery did not materialize. On Saturday night after kevura, I was in Eretz Yisroel, and called this rav.
I simply asked him what I had done wrong. Where had I fallen short? I needed to know.
He told me that the need to blame someone(g-d,yourself) is part of the need to "feel that we are in control".

The feeling that we do not have control is the most unsettling feeling in the world. Imagine that people will torture themselves with needless guilt rather than face the alternative that we are not really in control of the events around us.
We are in control of how we react or respond to those events however.
I was recently in the company of a few bereaved parents. The teenage child of one of the parents was in a terrible car accident. She was rushed to the hospital. The father's instinct was to transfer to a better equipped facility.
He said that he hasn't been able to live with himself since his daughter passed away at that hospital a short time later.
He was plagued by guilt that he was the cause of his child's death. If only they would have gone to a better hospital. His wife began to speak and described that her instinct at the time telling her to stay in that hospital, not wanting to cause her any more pain. (I started to wonder whether he blamed himself or his wife). Another parent said that she lived with a similar guilt. Her son was scheduled for surgery at a certain unnamed hospital. She felt uncomfortable with that facility and considered changing to another one. She convinced herself otherwise. She felt that considering the reputation of the hospital, her fears were unfounded. Unfortunately, there was a complication during the surgery and the child passed away. She described the feeling of guilt that gnawed at her. Nothing anyone said gave her any relief from her guilt. Even when people told her that her intentions were good, it did not help. Only one idea penetrated her heart. Two years after her son passed away, another bereaved parent told her “You’re not that powerful." It took another 2 years of her friend telling her this over and over again "you're not that powerful" until it sank in;sort of. In our lives, we like to feel a sense of control. There is probably no greater portrayal of our lack of control than to lose a child. It is like a personal tsunami. We can only control ourselves and our response but g-d rules the world.


Post a Comment

<< Home

My Goal is to post at least 2x per week on Sunday and Wednesday.