Joy – Are You Ushering It In Or Out?
I went to Montreal last weekend to visit my folks. My dad, who had a stroke in June, has been living in a rehabilitation center for the past five months. The plan was to take him home for the weekend and I was going to stay with him and my mother to help out.
On Saturday morning, before my father’s arrival, my mother expressed significant anxiety about his visit. She was worried that he would get agitated and not want to go back to the rehab center at the end of his visit. She was concerned about what to feed him. She questioned the feasibility of having 24-hour care right in her home. She was nervous about her ability to take care of him and his ability to take care of himself. Her gradual personal decline as a result of Alzheimer’s certainly did not help to alleviate her anxiety.
With the intention to stay by her side and keep her as calm as possible, I decided to join her on her weekly trip to synagogue. I knew that it would make her happy and that I would be able to distract her and allay her fears about my dad’s visit.
The service was in French and Hebrew. The regular crowd was there. My mother was happy in the familiarity of her surroundings and in the recognition of the faces that were a regular part of her Saturday routine. The crowd chanted in unison at the right times and prayed to G-d for health, peace, joy and well being. The ark was opened and the Torah was revealed.
Whenever the Torah is undressed and placed on the reading bench, the congregants stand up from their seats and quietly observe the proceedings. It is a pinnacle moment in the service. It is a moment that typically calls for silence and attention as a sign of ultimate respect.
At the very moment that the Torah was released from its tightly rolled grip, a beautiful, vibrant little girl, approximately 2 years old, burst out with a belly laugh that filled the entire hall. It wasn’t a single laugh, it was a continuous laugh with complete abandon – a pure, joy-filled laugh that let everyone know that all was well in the world.
In this case, no one was laughing. The congregants were horrified that such an important, spiritual and religious moment could be tainted with such disrespect and noise. They instantly threw shushes her way and ushered her and her mother out the door to wait until the Torah reading was over.
Health. Peace. Joy. Well being.
The very thing they were literally praying for was right in the room with them and they ushered it right out the door. Is it possible that we are all praying so hard to find what’s missing in our lives that we are inadvertently ushering out our greatest desires? As a coach, I have seen this pattern over and over – and what’s interesting is that this tendency is so deeply lodged into the belief system of my clients that it’s difficult for them to consciously see what they are doing. I love it when I can find this kind of pattern in their journals and help my clients to see how their beliefs and behaviors are actually pushing away the very things that they want. These are magical moments and are the starting point for dramatic transformations.