An extended stay at the hospital for my husband in a ward generally meant for people who stay no more than a few days had me thinking. People would come and go and we would have to stay. Sometimes the bed next to us was empty and then a new patient would come, but he would leave before too long.
One of my daughter's said that is how she felt during child birth of one of her children. Women would come give birth and move on, and she would be in the same bed waiting, pushing, still in pain, wondering when she would be able to move on
In a healthy life outside of the hospital we get to decide when we move on. It just so happens that most of us, at least most of the time, don't think about this so we don't make a conscious effort of movement. As a result, we stay where we are, not because we necessarily want to be in that place, but because by doing nothing, by not consciously thinking about our lives and making an effort, we have made a decision to stay where we are, even if it is an unconscious decision.
Maybe we see others moving on, maybe we don’t. Maybe we close our eyes to the possibility that we can change our own situation, or maybe we feel that it is too big a leap to get to where we really want to go.
When we do think about where we would like to be we often think we are too old, or it is unattainable, or it would be too hard financially, or for the family, or just take too much effort to be worth the trouble.
I certainly don’t begrudge the other patients moving on. That is what is supposed to happen and I wish them good health. But, it makes me think. We are all supposed to move on. We aren’t supposed to be stagnant in the hospital or in life. Likewise, we are also supposed to have movement in our spiritual lives.
No matter what you do, or don’t do regarding religion, there are still aspects of your life that you probably feel are spiritual. Whether you visit the sick, or someone who is lonely, or you give someone a ride somewhere, volunteer at an institution, or you give charity. Who can’t do a little something more? Likewise, even if you try to follow all of the commandments, there is always something more that you can do without going crazy.
Movement does not have to be radical, but it should exist. Taking on something new will lead you down the path to where you want to go. You can design your path. Do you want to become a more giving person? Start by giving a small amount of money once a week to a charity. (You can collect the money in a can until it adds up to an amount that you are comfortable handing over to the charity of your choice.) Or volunteer an hour a week at an institute that you care about, or offer to help out someone that you know could use a hand.
Perhaps you would like to explore your Judaism more? Look into classes in a synagogue, Jewish Community Center, or university near you. If there is nothing nearby think of hiring a private teacher for yourself or starting a small study group. There are also courses and lots of information on the Internet.
Many people prefer doing rather than learning. Think about lighting Shabbat candles before the arrival of Shabbat. There are many ways to make Shabbat special such as preparing a nicer meal and inviting friends or family for a Shabbat meal. Or read a bit of Torah every Shabbat and get acquainted, or reacquainted, with the Torah and what it has to offer. (I suggest reading with commentaries to get a fuller understanding of the stories.)
There are so many baby steps that you can take in religion. It is not an all or nothing proposition. But, it will not happen on its own. You have to make a conscious decision to do something. Think about what would make your life more meaningful.
I hope that you love your life, but I also bet that you could take it to new heights. So, take some time to think and explore and decide on something, even the tiniest thing that you could do to make your life a more meaningful one. Explore with your actions and/or with your intellect options that can help you move forward.
Marcia Goldlist is a regular contributor of blog postings on Jewish Values Online. She was the author of one of the blog postings selected for the Second Quarter 5779 Jewish Values Online Best Blogs.
Please note: All opinions expressed in Blog Postings and comments on the Jewish Values Online site and through Jewish Values Online are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, beliefs, or position of Jewish Values Online, or those associated with it.
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