15 minutes before Shabbat and the pot of food I prepared for Shabbat fell off the stove onto the floor. There goes 2 of my Shabbat meals all over the clean floor. I am awash with pain, shame, fear and I have anger for dessert. (It’s too late to cook something else before Shabbat.)
What now? I don’t even have time to breathe. I have 10 minutes, how can I clean it all and what will we eat? Let me just catch the kid that did this… but wait!!
What’s happening to me now? I’m scared and hurt, I feel weak and powerless. I lost control. The floor is dirty and the food is going in the trash I don’t know what will be and all I want to do is yell and take it out on the one who got me into this predicament at the worst time possible.
But one moment before I release all that on my little daughter that turned the pot over I remember my mantra: “I’d rather be weak and get hurt than to be strong and hurt someone else with my anger.” I’m fighting an internal battle. I know I must give in, that’s what I learned. But if I don’t get angry at the wrong done here to me they’ll be victorious. I feel like I’m going to be erased and cease to exist.
Just last week I had a similar situation and my husband and I accepted some boundaries on our anger. Now is testing time and the test is tough. I cry and the crying gets stronger until it peters out into a pure and cleansing whimper. I blame no one and I accept what happened. G-d comes inside me and wraps me with compassion. Some sweetness creeps into my bitter feelings and my faith and security return along with my calm. The bitterness retreats, I no longer feel alone. The strongest of strong is at my side helping me get out of the darkness. I now have the strength to go on.
With the inspiration of Hanukkah I push the food that didn’t fall on the floor back into the pot, quickly wash up the rest and go light my Shabbat candles. Looking at the candles I repeat my mantra: “I prefer to be weak but be with G-d, than to be strong but alone and disconnected from the eternal light.”