From Apathy to Gratitude

Gratitude

Which is the same thing as

Appreciation

Which slowly becomes

Routine

Leading to

Desensitization

And consequently

Under-appreciation.

How do we let ourselves get to that point? To where the largest blessing becomes something natural, and nothing of consequence, nothing important, or worthy of recognition and constant

Gratitude.

We’re back at the beginning of the cycle.

The question that has been plaguing me is how do we avoid this self-destructive path towards the mundane, or worse. Apathy. This may seem needlessly dramatic, but unfortunately I know that apathy is closer than we believe.

I sloped into this mindset, and went about my life without any day standing out, nothing significant to distinguish one from another, nothing to make each day its own unique entity. Of course I had work, and school, and minor stresses [who doesn’t?], but ultimately…I was bored. Little rebellions were all that livened me up.

I was jolted out of this on Wednesday.

We were fasting, in accordance with the Orthodox Jewish tradition in regards to Yom Kippur. It is considered the holiest day of the year, with the most potential in asking God for forgiveness for previous sins, and to assist us in continuing a sin-free life. We ask to be sealed in the “Book of Life,” which [I’m being very general here] essentially means that we’re requesting a year of blessing, health, etc. You stand a lot, pray the same words many times, all while fasting [no food or drink for 25 hours, starting the night before] until about an hour after sunset. This may sound awful, but it’s actually one of my favorite holidays. Because that is what it is- essentially a time of rejoicing. You repented, and now all you can do it sit back and let God make the decisions for you. It is an emphasis on the spiritual and holy aspect of our lives, rather than the physical, material, and bizarrely busy world that dominates our daily lives. For me, it’s like the world is put on hold [cell phones off, laptops off], and I have 25 hours dedicated solely to introspection and positivity.

It’s a beautiful concept.

At the end of the day, yes. Your body is weak. No food or drink, plus the stress of constant prayer, takes a toll on our brain, blood sugar, blood pressure, and muscle strength. Every person is obviously affected by the day in a unique way, has his/her own reaction to these physical side-effects.  I was weak. I had taken a nap [going home from synagogue with my mother], and we had decided to go back for the final prayers called “Neillah” [the most important part of the day’s services. It ends the day on a high note, praising God and singing. There’s so much happiness in the room, I love it.]. We were almost at the building, crossing a busy street. And then my mother said her heart was hurting, and collapsed.

I managed to break her fall, not by much. She was responding to me, thank God. Thank God. There are so many miracles that came together Wednesday that weren’t immediately recognized. Like the fact that I had no cell phone on me, there were no pedestrians around, in the middle of a busy, car-packed street- and yet, people stopped their cars and asked if we needed help, offered their phones, called 911 for us. The miracle of the ambulances coming within five minutes. It definitely restored my faith in the kindness of humanity.

I don’t really want to give specific medical details, but she’s ok. She’s home, didn’t even spend the night at the hospital or anything. They gave her fluids [a large portion of the fainting spell was because of the lack of fluids], and she felt better.

I was 99% inclined to lose faith. To become apathetic again [my default reaction to stressful situations], both as a rebellion, and as a coping mechanism. To return to that “desensitization” stage is definitely easier than worrying or stressing more. I was so angry and frightened – on the holiest day of the year [at least, to me and my loved ones], THIS had to happen? What’s God trying to prove? What’s the point he’s trying to make here? What if there IS no point? What if our prayers are for naught, that we are fasting and trying so hard and it’s not even making a dent? These thoughts and more ran through my mind, mixed with my intense fear for my mother. Despite all of these thoughts, I’m glad that there was still that 1% in me that allowed me to realize the following:

I don’t want to be ungrateful, and God helped me with that goal. I was terrified on Wednesday. It could have been much worse than it was. My mother is my world. She’s my best friend and confidante, as well as the woman who raised me, cared for me, helped me develop into the person that I am now. I owe everything to her. Wednesday’s events made me realize that what I have is precious. That there is no room for apathy. There is no room for the routine or mundane.

What can I say? I cannot help you in your own search for the answer to my question. But if you can find a way to

Remember

What it is you’ve been given, and

Cherish

The people and blessings that you have, then

Everything will remain important.

Your

Love

Will be consistent, and most of all, your

Gratitude

Will endure.

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