Mysterious Ways

I’ve always pictured God as a mountain.

When I was a little kid, I had a book called Hot Hippo. It was an African folktale with beautiful watercolor illustrations. I remember virtually nothing about the book, save for the grey stone mountain that was God.

In Sunday school at my synagogue,I remember being asked to draw what I imagined God looked like. I drew the mountain from the book. Most of the other kids drew an old man with a white beard sitting on a cloud or a throne. One child drew an amorphous cloud.

But what God looks like is not nearly as important as how He works in our lives.

My faith has a tendency to wax and wane. I once went a few years without setting foot in the synagogue my family belongs to. I finally made it back, and I’m so grateful for that. I feel better when I pray, but I have a hard time doing things that are good for me.

A few nights ago, I asked God to give me the chance to help someone else. The next day, a friend of mine came over. I was reheating some biscuits at the time, and I offered one to my friend. She gladly accepted and told me she’d been praying for food.

There were some leftovers in the fridge that I wasn’t going to eat, so I gave those to my friend, sent her on her way, and thanked God for allowing me to help someone–to do a mitzvah.

Work was pretty rough last night. My customers were rude, I was anxious, there weren’t enough registers open, and two coworkers who I don’t really click with were there. I left about an hour and a half before closing time, and I asked my supervisor if someone was coming to take over my register, or if it was okay to turn the register off. This was, apparently, a very stupid question. My other two coworkers who, for whatever reason, barely even acknowledge me most of the time, started laughing, and one of them repeated my question in a mocking voice.

Maybe I’m just a little more sensitive than usual due to it being that time of the month, but I got really pissed off. I clocked out and went home to change clothes. (I hate shopping in my uniform unless I absolutely have to.) I needed groceries for dinner, but I decided to go to the other supermarket so I wouldn’t have to face my coworkers. When I got there, I realized I’d left my debit card in my uniform pocket. I turned around and went home.

By this point, I was ready to bang my head into a wall, scream, or both. I knew I needed to do something to calm down so no harm would befall me. So, I turned to God.

Jewish people do not normally kneel to pray, but for some reason, I felt the urge to get on my knees. I knelt down in my living room, humbled myself before God, and asked Him to save me from anger and rise above annoyances.

Almost instantly, a wave of calm washed over me. I knew that God had heard my prayer.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty short-lived, but a woman loyal to God has truly earned praise. Honor her for all her offerings; her life proclaims her praise.”

Mishkan T’filah

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