I do not believe that God has a plan for me. I do not believe in fate. I do not believe that I am some kind of special creature the universe is trying to teach a lesson. I think if there is a god she cares about and nurtures my potential as much as she cares about and nurtures a gnat’s potential.
But I can choose to take lessons from the patterns around me.
I am currently in EMDR therapy for PTSD. I have been very frustrated after my concussion with the fact that I could not continue the EMDR until I recovered some. “The whole schedule is off,” I’ve scolded. “I was supposed to be fixed by June.”
So, now that I’m healed and can do some EMDR, we worked, instead of on a particular memory, on the idea that I don’t have to see delaying of therapy as a failure of some sort, or even as a setback. I don’t have to be so damn goal oriented, constantly frustrated that I am not all fixed. I can take some pleasure in getting to know myself better, in experiencing self-care, in investigating what makes me tick as much as I would take pleasure in revising an essay, short story, or novel.
I LOVE revising. There’s no reason why I can’t enjoy revising the story of my life and the story of who I am, just for the sake of revising.
Right after the session, I and my boys went to a seder at a friend’s house, and this passage from the haggadah struck me like a gong — I actually felt myself vibrate with it; felt my eyes fill with tears of recognition:
What does this mean, “Dayenu — it would have been enough”? Surely if God had brought us out of Egypt but not divided the Red Sea for us or sustained us in the desert, it would not have been enough. Dayenu means to celebrate each step toward freedom as if it were enough, then to start out on the next step. Dayenu means that if we reject each
step because it is not the whole liberation, we will never be able to achieve the whole liberation. Dayenu means to sing each verse as if it were the whole song — and then sing the next verse!
While I got my own personal message about my experience in therapy, my friend who read it also was in tears. For her, it was the struggle for gay civil rights.
I don’t think God was trying to send either of us a message; I just think some ideas are so universal that we can all find the messages we need to hear inside of them.