This week has been…rough. It’s one of those weeks which seems to drag into two weeks where it feels like everything I try to fix only ends up more broken, whether it’s at home or at work. I’m tired, drained, both physically and emotionally. My day begins at about 4am so that I can make it to work at 6. I wander into the bathroom and look down at the sink, my eyes red from lack of sleep, and I see the washing cup sitting there.
For a moment, a choice crosses my mind. A small voice inside my head whispers to me, telling me all the reasons I could skip my morning routine of washing and prayers. After all, who would know? Who would even really care? Isn’t my morning hectic enough? Shouldn’t I take just a day break? What’s the big deal?
These thoughts come up like weeds and they come when I’m weak, tired, discouraged. They even whisper…you’re not obligated anyway, you know.
You’re not even a Jew. Why make your life harder? Isn’t it hard enough already?
And then, I sigh, and I fill the cup and I wash and I move on to my prayers.
Because, what would a commitment mean if I only held it when it was easy. What would my love mean if I only gave it to G-d when my life was going exactly the way I wanted? I don’t stop caring for my husband or children when things get difficult. I don’t give up on my commitments at work when I’m run down and things aren’t going my way.
And so I prayed and I blessed G-d, even knowing that this, too, comes from Him, which is one of the challenging things of being a strict monotheist. Yes, great things in my life come from G-d, but also, the hard things, too. Truly believing nothing is outside His control also means believing that things I really don’t like in my life also come from Him and somehow digging deep enough to bless His name even then. Maybe especially then.
Love and commitment are harder when the object of your love is harder to love, but I think it’s those moments that have more meaning. I know making that choice this morning wasn’t easy after the week I’ve had, but I felt better after it. Somehow, the simple act of washing and praying reminded me that, yes, this too shall pass. It’s a rough couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean that it will last forever. Purim is coming with all the fun for the kids that brings. There will be struggles to catch up with things before Passover, but then there will also be Seders together. Things at work will ease and the things at home will also get fixed. This is just one of those valleys.
And washing my hands reminded me that I’m not alone. Even besides my family, there is someone who is there and understands and knows I made the harder choice this morning.