Seeing as it seems that Hashem is leaving me messages again via creatures mentioned in Perek Shirah -- a fan-fingered gecko lizard has made itself at home on our walls and ceilings -- I'm putting up this post as a call to gratitude.
Well, Chazal translates the smamit in Perek Shirah as either a spider or some kind of gecko, who sings Tehillim 150:5:
הַלְלוּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי-שָׁמַע; הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּצִלְצְלֵי תְרוּעָה
HalleluHu b'tziltzelei shama; halleluHu b'tziltzelei truah
Praise Him with loud-sounding cymbals; praise Him with clanging cymbals.
And seeing as I kept running into spiders all last week, including one chillingly enormous one, and now this cute little gecko, I'm getting the message.
Please bear with me as I do my best to clang those cymbals.
Give God Your Daily 20
I found it interesting that he didn't tell very stuck people to express gratitude for 10 minutes, but instead recommended a list, which can be finished in a minute or two.
It just goes to show you that he understands different people and what they're dealing with. It takes tremendous wisdom to be able to relate to and advise people where they're currently at, even if it means watering things down until to the bare minimum, just to make it manageable.
Yet for people who are feeling very stuck and bitter, even 20 things seems like too much. Furthermore, it's admittedly painful to include the very thing you desire.
However, we know that Chazal is unanimous in the fact that Hashem only does what's best for us, even if a particular event causes us a lot of anguish or confusion. Hashem takes everything into account, including past-life events and much much more.
Fortunately, Hashem doesn't necessarily expect us to feel grateful for a painful nisayon.
It's perfectly acceptable to say something like, "Hashem, I have no clue how this can possibly be good in any way, but because they say everything You do is somehow good, I thank You for it anyway, even though it's killing me."
That's actual a huge expression of emuna, depending on where you're coming from. If it's a very, very painful or traumatic or aggravating nisayon that's wrecking your life, then it is extremely powerful to thank Hashem for it.
I've done this literally in tears a few times, so I can empathize if you find expressing this kind of gratitude emotionally excruciating.
To make things even more challenging, sometimes (NOT always) the situation gets worse and then it gets better -- even miraculously better. The key is to keep up the 20 gratitudes a day, even if things get worse.
It's one of these things that the harder it is to do, the more powerful it is, and the more blessing and merit you reap from doing it -- and not just for yourself, but for the whole world.
Gratitude When Stuck in a Dark Low Place
Well, you can count all your fingers and toes.
Seriously. I've done it.
You say (or write down): "You are so Great, God. Thank You for my right pinky finger, my left pinky finger, my right ring finger, my left ring finger...my third right toe, my third left toe..." And so on.
Now I realize that some people, may Hashem have mercy, lack a toe or a finger. In that case, one can replace it with another limb or organ. For example, "You are so Great, God. Thank You for my left eye and for my right eye. Thank You for saliva. Thank You for my liver. Thank You for my tongue."
And somewhere in that list of 20, you add in your nisayon.
For example, "You are so Great, God. Thank You for my right thumb, thank You for my left thumb, thank You for this heartbreaking nisayon of:
- not having children
- finding myself in such a soul-destroying marriage
- losing so much money
- not having a job
- being raised by such dysfunctional narcissists
- being ill for so long
- [whatever your particular nisayon is]"
Again, if it's something that causes you a lot of anguish, even a robotic expression of gratitude is likely to be very difficult.
Yet many people have seen a real sweetening of judgement by doing the above, and even getting their prayers answered in the way they wanted.
Having said that, there are no guarantees. There's no way to know your past-life deeds or your soul's mission and what Hashem has determined as best for you and what He sees you as needing to accomplish in this lifetime.
But at the same time, expressing gratitude is one of the most powerful and conducive acts you could ever perform to fulfill your prayers.
In other words, expressing 20 gratitudes a day is your best bet for fulfilling your heart's desire, even though are no guarantees.
Nonetheless, it is your BEST chance.
Of course, you can also leave out the nisayon and just stick with your 10 toes and 10 fingers.
But the main thing is to just do the daily 20.
Even if you're feeling stuck, angry at Hashem, overwhelmed, traumatized, disconnected, or dead inside, if you could just somehow force yourself to write down (or say out loud) the 20, then that has the best chance of helping.
And if you do it, but you don't perceive a difference in yourself or your life?
Then you still haven't lost anything; you've only gained.
You've still provided a lot of merit and blessing for both yourself and others that you will see the fruits of one day.
May Mashiach come & may Hashem put an end to all our suffering.
First Emuna, Then Understanding
Garden of Miracles
Thanking Hashem for Our Troubles
It Hurts, But Thanks!