The Secret to Our Success (and Survival)

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” -Dale Carnegie

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My youngest child (pictured above), our 4-year-old daughter, was “Ema shel Shabbat” (“mother of the Sabbath”) this past Friday. It’s an adorable custom here in Israel, where every Friday, a boy and girl from the nursery school class are chosen to act out the role of “mother and father of the house” and the whole group pretends to be keeping Shabbat together. Our little Chani, all dressed up in her fanciest dress, lit the Shabbat candles, and the little father, Boaz, made Kiddush on grape juice. Everyone sang and laughed, and a good time was had by all! These wonderful children are the future of our nation, I think to myself, and, boy, the future looks pretty bright!

I was sitting on those little plastic nursery school chairs, when I had a sudden flashback to what Dr. P. had told me six years ago, at the age of 40; “Stop trying to have another child…you are too old…it’s too risky…and besides, why would you want to sit on those little plastic nursery chairs in your late forties?” I chuckle to myself as I think — if he only knew…

But I wasn’t always so sure things would end this way, and I had to make many choices along the way based on the unknown. It is precisely because, and when, things are unknown to us that we are called upon to have faith and perseverance. We actually don’t even realize how much strength we have inside, what we are capable of, until after the fact…

During the four years leading up to Chani’s birth, I had been through: an ectopic pregnancy; several miscarriages; a fortune of blood tests and ultrasounds; two D & C s; three hospital stays, the  discovery of a blood disorder (Prothrombim Factor 5), which meant that I had to inject myself with Clexane shots everyday for 9 months of pregnancy up until six weeks after birth; I had hyperemesis gravidarum — excessive vomiting all day, every day , for 9 months straight {for the duration of this pregnancy and every single one of my pregnancies); I also had hypothyroidism to throw into the mix; not to mention symphysiolysis (Pelvic Girdle Pain), which was totally excruciating; I underwent an amniocentesis (at the doctor’s insistence) and could not walk for three days from sheer pain. I had many doctors telling me I was ridiculous and crazy to have another child, and I had a few doctors cheering me on. I had a two day birth, with fetal distress, burst blood vessels, and hemorrhaging after birth. We almost didn’t make it…

Even as I write this, I think, how did I get through all that? How did I keep going? I promise you that I am just an ordinary person who really wanted to have kids! I am not superwoman. I always joke that I would do it all over again, but I’m sure glad that I don’t have to!

I have often wondered what it is that inspires us to keep trying. Something deep inside of us just won’t let us quit. To be sure, it is G-d who gives us the strength, but it is up to us to find and use that strength. After all, we are partners with G-d in this journey called life. Why are people so inspired by Nick Vujicic and Sean Stephenson? Because we say to ourselves: 1) Look at what they can accomplish without arms and legs so look what I should be able to accomplish with arms and legs; 2) If they didn’t give up, why should I?

As Victor Hugo put it “Perseverance is the secret of all triumphs.” If you want a real lesson in perseverance, just study Jewish history. We never give up. I guess you could say we Jews are lucky, for although as individuals we don’t always know how our story will end, at least as a nation we get a sneak preview — we know our story has a happy ending no matter how long it takes.

About the Author
Teacher of Jewish Philosophy, Family Purity, and the Jewish take on dating and marriage; Mikveh Tour Guide; proud mother of 6 AMAZING kids; Rebbetzin; American Israeli who is in love with the Jewish People, Torah and Eretz Yisrael!
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