How I Got Through the Week:
A look at Just One Word: Emunah
It was one of those weeks. Lots of issues. Medical issues (serious) — a son hospitalized. Medical issues (annoying) — paperwork overload, a missing document, a hospital’s broken fax machine. Professional issues, homeowner issues, traffic and parking issues.
Yes, a tough week. But in the best “refuah lifnei ha’makah” tradition, Hashem sent me something that got me through it, sane and smiling.
It’s called Just One Word: Emunah.
Remember the book that started a revolution: Just One Word. Amen, by Esther Stern? Mrs. Stern has a unique ability to inspire, to transmit Torah concepts, to illustrate those concepts with true stories, to show us how we can change our lives for the better.
In her new book, Just One Word: Emunah, she turns her attention to the topic that has riveted our generation: faith and trust in Hashem.
Back to my awful week. While the world was falling down around me, I was putting a few final editorial changes into her manuscript, and I read:
If a person would examine one of his life’s challenges and calculate how much of his suffering is the actual problem and how much is the accompanying worry, pain, anguish, and fear of the unknown, he would discover that often the problem itself is relatively small compared to the side effects that blow it up into a huge burden. With emunah there are no “side effects.” There is only the net problem.
And I realized — take away the angst and put emunah in its place, and most of my problems shrink down to manageable size.
Then I was berating myself for something I did and getting angry at someone else for something she didn’t do, and I read:
Every individual’s life situation is chosen for him down to the most minor detail, given to him by the only One Who is in charge: HaKadosh Baruch Hu. So we can calm down. We are not to blame, and neither is anyone else.
And on and on. For every problem, a story (there are over 80 true stories in the book!) that helped change frustration to acceptance. For every setback, a Chazal or classic mussar insight that transformed fear to tranquility.
The week came to an end, my son was b’H better. But there will be other weeks like this. And with Just One Word: Emunah — I’ll be much better prepared for whatever Hashem sends my way.