I was writing about dysfunctional obsessive behaviors: drinking, drugging, gambling, sex, over-eating, and watching way too many baseball games on television.
|Chicago Cubs WIN Flag|
In the synagogue daily, for the past month, or maybe at home, if you live with a musician, the blow of the ram's horn, the shofar, is a wake up call. Wake up! Think about what you really value, think about the important things. Pray for what matters, strive for better, reach to be a better person, extend yourself. We say that God judges the world, all of it on Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year.
It begins tonight, and the Days of Awe last 10 days. Last month, the prequel. This isn’t a party holiday, it is serious. Those of us who observe it don’t drink much in celebration, don’t want to be caught napping. There are loftier things to do, learning in particular, praying, and that's how we want to be seen, as if God, considering us for the coming year, will merely think of us this way.
Because otherwise, we take everything for granted. This is why therapists try to get you to buy into the idea (with several exceptions) that a little stress is good, a little depression, your problems good too, because these annoyances force our hands, inspire growth, creativity, change. Even learning how to manage emotion, the physiological-psychological baggage that goes with stress, all that painful emotion, is a good thing; managing it, a rite of passage.
When it's not too much.
When it is, when things get really bad, that's when some of us, if we pray at all, start to pray with a vengeance. When things are very bad, people who pray, pray harder. They ask for others to pray with them, for them, for their families. And some of us who never prayed before, begin. Coping in this fashion tends to help us find solace, a little bit of comfort, even if we don't get what we pray for. We will say, You can’t pray too much, you can only pray more. Free will? Sure, but in the end it isn't such a bad idea to ask for help.
Just an aside, in Judaism prayer is important, but actions are more important. During these High Holy Days we're judged on tefilah, tzedukah, tshuvah-- prayer, charity, and a return to doing what we’re supposed to do. (We're assumed to have messed up somewhere). Charity and return are behavioral, not contemplative, and an effort at all three at once holds the keys to life in the coming year.
Chances are, things picked up for her, something lightened her load. Or, she just burnt out, all that devotion, too much to keep up. She would say, my guess, is that as a coping strategy, prayer can be a masterful, powerful form of meditation, focus. Many of us concur. Still others say, It is more than that. It is life or death.
We can't help but hope that when we do pray, when we talk, when we put an invisible concept in the room, as if our words are under consideration, it will make a difference. There's nothing dysfunctional about that, obsessive or not. Perhaps insisting that others do the same, be the same, is.
And it wouldn't hurt, honestly, since She is paying attention, if she waved the blue and white WIN flag, and the Cubs win the World Series.