Thursday, April 28, 2011

Message




Try not to be jealous, but years ago I received a high-intensity, super-powered, personalized message from a higher power.

I gotta say, it was pretty exciting.

It was during a bar mitzvah and the rabbi was talking about prayer. His point was that often when we pray we tend to babble on incessantly, asking for this, questioning that, generally being impatient and filling up the airwaves with a lot of the personal pronoun “I.” The rabbi suggested that right then and there, we all basically shut up (my words, not his) and instead just listen.

Now, it takes quite a bit of effort to shut down the beehive that is Betty’s brain, even for a few minutes, but because everyone else was doing it and I am easily coerced by peer pressure, I went along, bowed my head and waited.

Within seconds the message came through clearly. It was as though I had a Holy Bluetooth in my ear. I heard these words, “I Made You Strong.” I immediately looked at HOB. Perhaps this pointed arrow of four words had been aimed for him, but had hit his borrowed yarmulke, bouncing into my ear instead.

His face and the expressions of those around revealed to me that, apparently, I had been the only one receiving this mystical equivalent of the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Prize.

I tried very hard not to make a scene and bowed my head again, briefly considering that perhaps when this higher power said “I made you strong” it was referring to my personality, which, let’s face it, can act like a gallon-sized tea bag in a very small tea cup with extremely hot water.

A second, more disturbing thought came to me. Perhaps the message had been “I made you strange.”

Oh dear.

I asked for clarification and the message came again. “I Made You Strong.”

Whew…that was close.

There in the synagogue, I sat, just a little giddy and marveling at the message given to me. It was almost enough to make this Methodist girl consider the jump to Judaism.


It’s been years since that experience, and yet the message still comes to me when I need it.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say I am trying out some metaphorical new muscles in my job and there has been some subsequent metaphorical bruising. I’ve been challenged to go places and take on roles I haven’t taken on before. I’ve discovered I can handle it, even though the path has been rough. Yesterday as I made a difficult but necessary decision, I remembered the message.


Last week, my neighbor, friend, and book club buddy suffered from an aneurism and hovered in a coma before she passed away two days ago. I would have liked to have crumpled and withdrawn from the world for a few days, but I remembered the message and went in to teach instead, honoring her bright spirit as I did.

I see people around me face far greater challenges than the ones I face, and am in awe of how they carry on with such dignity and grace. In the weight room of life, I know I am lifting relatively light loads compared to the burdens some must take on.

Will I be able to handle the heavy loads that will, inevitably, come to me?

The message I received that day remains in my head and in my heart.

I’d say that’s a good place to start.


58 comments:

Seams Inspired said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend. May her memory be eternal.

Lin said...

Oh, Betty, I am so very sorry to hear your news. I'm sorry that you lost your friend.

Sometimes the most profound things come to us when we still ourselves--and how very wise that rabbi was. Aren't you glad you were there that day to receive your message? Most people don't listen--or they ignore the message. You got a good one and I'm glad that it carried you--it's been a rough year so far, hasn't it? Too many losses and changes. ugh.

You ARE strong, Betty! But I'm gonna send some love, prayers and hugs your way, just to let you know that we love ya!

Mamma has spoken said...

Sad but also so inspiring. Thoughts and prayers during this time of grief.

Desiree said...

Firstly, I'm very sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your dear friend. An aneurism is such a shocking way for someone to go, because it's so silent, sudden and deadly, giving no warning.

Secondly, this is an incredibly inspired post, so well written and full of strength! Thank you for sharing this other-worldly experience with us.

Madi and Mom said...

Dear BB we are so sorry to read of the untimely passing of your dear friend. What a powerful post. They say we are never given more than we can handle. Your strength must have been tested to the core at her passing. You are stong and she would want you to remember her as a strong womand too.
I always tell folks I hope they remember me talking non stopping
and laughing for that is what I'll be doing in heaven.
Hugs Madi and Mom

EmptyNester said...

Such a beautifully moving post. Thank you so much for sharing!

Leah J. Utas said...

Betty, thanks so much for writing about this. Messages come. Good for you for accepting it. The words have clearly helped you, and that is good. So sorry about your friend.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Beautiful, and very moving. How fine it was that you were listening and Knew the message's deeper implications. It obviously has served you well. I can feel your strength from here. Powerful.

Anne Gallagher said...

Betty, my sincerest condolences on the loss of your friend. Such a sad thing. But you are strong and you will get through this.

My one time Holy Bluetooth experience came when I was in a tree of all things. She said,
"Don't worry, I'll catch you if you fall."

And I've fallen many times in many ways and she's always been there for me.

Gigi said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss - I can only imagine how difficult that must be.

That rabbi was very wise and we usually don't take the time to listen to the message or carry it with us throughout our lives.

Laura said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend...
What an awesome message! And love that you decided to share it!

Catherine said...

Sending you extra big hugs and deepest good thoughts Betty ~ you do have strength my friend!
xo Catherine

Nancy said...

So sorry about your friend.

I have to admit, your post reminded me of Field of Dreams --

if you build it...

Great post.

Out on the prairie said...

It is tough to lose someone close, but you showed strength and concern for all around you.

HulaBuns said...

Yes you will (but you already knew that)! I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Betty. What an important message, thank you for sharing it with us.

Linda said...

It's never easy to lose someone you love, but it's especially hard when it happens so suddenly. My sympathies to you in the loss of your friend.

Your post, as usual, is so well written. The "Holy Bluetooth" thing had me chuckling and thinking "...only Betty..." But there's a great truth in that rabbi's suggestion that prayer is more than just talking to God. It's also listening to Him.

And maybe the reason you didn't hear "I made you strange" is that God figured you already knew. :)

Pat said...

What a strong post! I am moved by YOUR message! Inspiring, yet humorous AND sad. I am so sorry for your loss. Take care, my friend, but I know you will be okay, for indeed, YOU ARE STRONG.

Shan said...

You are strong enough to be a source of strength for others, BB. I am sad for the loss of your friend. Sending you love and peace.

Old Kitty said...

Oh BB. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. My sympathies to her family.

I think these whispered words are so true of you though BB! You are strong in heart and mind and spirit!

Take care
x

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

Listening is often forgotten in the prayer process. :) Smart Rabbi!

Brian said...

That is one of the most thought provoking posts I think I've ever read. Thank you for making us think.

Katherines Corner said...

My hand in yours sweet friend. May fond memories always replace sorrow. Big Hugs
P.S. added your button to my blog love page :-)

Daisy said...

"I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me". Philippians 4:13. That's what came to my mind while reading this, Betty. Thank you for sharing this. You make the rest of us stronger by hearing about your story.

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to your friend. Hugs to you.

Susan in the Boonies said...

That is such a beautiful and affirming word that you heard, recognized the truth of, and have clung to. Who would know it better than the One who made you.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm so glad you're keeping on keeping on. That strength is a gift, your gift, straight from Him.

Brian Miller said...

that is so cool betty...i know that message means alot...and its true...you know...smiles.

Eve said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Betty. It's a very hard thing to go through, to lose someone...it is necessary to let out the feelings of grief and sadness, and don't worry, it's not considered not being strong if you surrender to your sadness for a time..it's a process..thank you so much for your blog! I really enjoy it, you're always so entertaining! Peace to you and stay well!

Flartus said...

Oh, well, that's quite a useful message, isn't it? Mind if I borrow it from time to time?

I've received such strong messages myself a couple of times in my life. Maybe they came from my subconscious rather than God, but...who says it's not the same thing?

ooo, spooky! ;)

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

So sorry to hear that you lost a friend Betty.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I'm a bit biased, having sat next to confused men with borrowed yarmulkes (in synagogue or otherwise), but I must say this is my favorite Betty post. I love the way you mixed humor and past and present events with a very powerful message. I'm so sorry for your loss and relieved you know what it takes to keep going.
xoRobyn

Cricket said...

I can't think of any reason why "strong" and "strange" are mutually exclusive.

But seriously, I am sorry for the loss of your friend, and will keep you both in my next rosary. May you both find mercy.

And an encounter with the Divine is something, isn't it? It's almost beyond explanation, which is, I suppose, exactly as it should be. Even so, you did a good job telling the story.

Should you care to read a similar one of mine, you can find it in my archive for January 2010, titled Why I Believe.

I guess I'm strange too.

Cheeseboy said...

Awesome. What a great message. I am half Jewish. Perhaps I should look into going to synagog more often too?

Donna said...

I'm SO sorry Betty...but I understand what you mean about "the message"...Having gotten one when I was 5, I keep referring to it and it is my Constant companion...
((((HUG))))

welcome to my world of poetry said...

So sorry for your loss,Betty,
The poem was awe inspiring,

Take care.
Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm so sorry about your friend!
That's an awesome word from God. You are strong, Betty.
Probably strange as well, but it's a good strange!

Pearl said...

Quarter Jewish myself. :-) Lovely message Betty, and let me just say how sorry I ham that you lost someone so close to you.

You are indeed made strong.

Hugs.

Pearl

Josh Hoyt said...

This is a great message Betty and if it comes from a higher up then you know its true. I also appreciate the message of shutting up and being quiet. This is so important to do in our lives especially with all the noise around us. Great post and you show your true strength through your actions.

Cool Gal said...

A very good start.

Sorry to hear about your friend. That is just so sad.

You ARE a very strong woman, Betty. Inspirational, too.

The Adorkable Ditz said...

I love how you describe things! I'm sorry about your friend but you are strong and you can do what you previously thought you couldn't! :D

Theanne and Baron said...

It's always so interesting to me how, when, where God gets his messages to us. And being on the receiving end and recognizing the message as one from God is AWESOME! Regret that your friend passed away...remembering her "bright spirit" is a beautiful thing!

Tracy said...

Betty,
Wow, just WOW!!! what a great message and I'm certain you were surprised but what a great thing for the Rabbi to say, 'Shut up and listen!'
How often do we really do that? I will definitely try that!
I am sorry that life has been challenging to say the least for you lately. You ARE strong and I pray for added insight and patience in dealing with all that may entail.

Bouncin' Barb said...

BB..that was awesome. So glad you shared that with us. I know some people don't believe this stuff but clearly it was someone speaking to you. And good for you for actually listening to it. This gives me shivers but in a great way!!

Copyboy said...

Yeah, Betty so sorry for the loss of your friend. BTW...my Rabbi used to preach about the building fund.

Maggie said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. I hope your strength will carry you on. I am going to concentrate on just being still once in awhile and see if any messages come to me.

baygirl32 said...

what a great message. sorry about your friend

Marlene said...

I'm so sorry about your friend, Miss Betty. I did, however, laugh at the "Holy bluetooth in my ear" statement!

Susan Fields said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Judging by what I know of you from your blog, I'd say your mystical message sounds right on. And I so agree, sometimes the most effective prayer comes from just listening.

Brian (not the cat) said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. Be strong, yes, but be sure to take the time you need to grieve.

Lazarus said...

First, my condolences on your friend's passing Betty, it sounds like a huge loss to you.

Second, very inspiring post, one of the best I've ever read anywhere. Thanks for sharing.

Ella said...

Wonderful post; I so needed a message like this~ I'm struggling with an issue and it really helped! Thank you~

Pat Tillett said...

I'm sorry about your friend. Very sad! I think you've had enough for a while!
Sometimes, a message like that will pop into my ear (or head) also. Mine are in the voice of a couple of ladies who helped me purge my devils in therapy.

tracy said...

I'm sorry about your neighbor Betty. They say God never gives you more than you can handle. I don't think "they" ever walked through a chocolate store.

gowestferalwoman said...

uhmm...what brand of holy bluetooth were you using again?

because I need a direct line too this past week...

but then i dont want to hear ~

"try it again, but use more cowbell"

Ann said...

so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.
It seems that whenever I'm feeling like life is weighing down on me there is always some little sign always telling me that I can make it. I'm glad you had the direct line to let you know that you are strong :)

Leanne said...

Dear Betty, I'm so sorry ... although it doesn't seem like enough, does it? I believe that message you heard was meant for moments just like this. Hold on, dear friend. He did, you know? He Made You Strong. I believe.

Hilary said...

You are indeed wonderfully strange and no doubt, strong. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend.

Eva Gallant said...

I'm sorry you lost your friend, but this was a wonderful post! Well done, girl!

Sara said...

My best friend calls them "angel thoughts," and I can't think of one much better than yours. Sending big hugs for you during this time of loss.. ♥

Baby Sister said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Isn't it nice to know that we have someone higher up that looks after us?