When Words Fail, Find The Miracle Of Actions – By Marc

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I often go deep and personal and am willing to share some fairly private thoughts. I do this as a way of sharing my journey into Judaism as honestly and openly as I can… the highs and the lows, the struggles and successes. Some days it’s a battle, some days it’s easy. Some days prayers are rote, some days they bring me to tears.This morning something strange and profound happened. To set it up, I need to reveal that I am struggling with a lot of things right now… Financial struggles, career struggles, and emotional struggles, as my first and only child gets ready to leave for college next week.

One of the things I am working towards is to make sure I say the Modeh Ani (prayer of gratitude and thanks for waking up) as soon as I awake… before my feet hit the floor. Then I wrap Tefillin and Daven. While it is not yet daily, at least in the morning, I am working towards it being something I do every single day and I am pretty close. And considering where I was just a few years ago, my growth is pretty amazing.

So due to the above life issues, my brain is swimming… and I will admit I was not feeling very happy about the prospects of the day… I was frustrated and depressed… I was coming off of an almost sleepless night and I woke up with a bit of dread. And yet… I went to say the Modeh Ani, hoping this would jump-start things… and maybe get me over that hump of depression and dread…So I began… Modeh Ani… Modeh Ani… Modeh Ani… and then… Nothing.

Other than the first two words, my brain went blank… totally blank. I literally could not remember the rest of the prayer… a prayer I have said hundreds, if not thousands of times. I tried to breathe… nothing… it was gone from my mind. Completely gone. The English, too. I could not believe it. Was my mind not truly grateful? That sounds about right, as I was questioning my situation… praying for a change… and not at all happy with where I was, but wow…

I put the general idea into my head, got up and started my day. It was a day of errands and lots of driving, but some nice time with my daughter… I started feeling better… We had to run to LAX and then had a nice lunch together. After that she went off to be with friends, and I went to do some errands.I pulled off the freeway and there was on older man with a “Help” sign. My initial thought was I needed and wanted to give him something. I pulled my wallet out… but for me right now, every dollar counts… so I then started second guessing myself. But no… for whatever reason, I needed to give this man money. He walked to the car, grabbed the dollar and thanked me. I then noticed someone behind me doing the same thing. Would they have done that if I had not? Quite possibly, but the idea of my gesture being a domino effect gave me some comfort…

This is what kindness is all about… it will hopefully grow and affect multiple people. Giving does as much for us as for the person we give to.

And then it happened…

Modeh Ani popped into my head… out of nowhere… It flowed into my brain and out of my mouth. I uttered the prayer out loud, in Hebrew and English.

It just flowed out of me… spontaneously and easily… and it literally brought me to tears…

The lesson to me was clear… sometimes words may fail us… sometimes prayers may not have the power we intend or want them to have… but if we act… if we move… if we take action to fulfill mitzvot and kindness and find a different way to describe and express our gratitude it will always lead us to clarity… it will put the words back in our brains and hearts and souls. Sometimes we must act first, especially when the impetus is to do the right thing… to be kind… to give.

Sometimes when words fail, we can find miracles in actions… in simply doing something positive… in putting our feet on the floor… and  in moving forward.

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