Tuesday, July 9, 2024

A Lesson in Trust

Mike doesn't believe in G-d, and rather than let our differing beliefs tear us apart, they've knit us closer together. We discuss various religions and debate how people find faith through hardship. I have told him, though, how ironic his atheism is; after all, he's the greatest example of G-d's love in MY life. And oddly, I think my current plight has made Mike want to believe in the randomness of the universe even more.

Despite how opposite our beliefs may be, Mike has admitted that I do have some pretty strange things happen to me, and today was not an exception.

A couple of days ago, I told my mom a story my rabbi once shared. "A pauper wanted to marry a princess," I said, "but the king needed to know if this would-be suitor was even worthy, so he sent him on a quest. 'Find the one thing that can make a rich man weep with sadness and a poor man cry tears of joy.' The pauper searched for years but finally returned empty handed and dejected. It wasn't until he stood at the castle gates that he found the answer. A beggar gave him a ring with the words..." My voice faltered. And at this point in the story—as I relayed this entire thing to my mom, my mind froze, and I completely forgot the words that were written on the ring! We broke out laughing—and Mike chuckled in the other room because, apparently, he'd been listening too.

No matter how much I racked my brain, I couldn’t remember the riddle’s answer. I thought about it during dinner last night and then today as I thought about the word trust. I’ve been really trying to fully place trust in G-d, believing that there’s a reason for everything. But trust is a terribly hard word to understand AND it’s even tougher to put into action. I’d just been thinking about all of this when Mike bounded into the house, looking like an energetic golden Lab—the best of humanity. “You got some mail!” he beamed. And after I opened the package, we both literally sat dumbstruck. 

“You’ve had some bizarre things happen,” he said. “But this is up there.”

“Does it make you believe in G-d?” I asked. 

“No… But I have to admit that sometimes weird things do go on. And I can’t explain why.”

I don’t need to change Mike’s mind. G-d knows I’m the last person who should be judging anyone. I’m currently in the process of converting to Judaism, and some people aren’t the happiest about that. But “vivre et laisser vivre,” right? At least one would hope. I’m tired of being judged, so I don’t want to inflict my own beliefs on anyone else. I’m simply curious.

Anyway, I held up a card that had accompanied the package we received in the mail. Then I read the words to Mike:

In times of uncertainty, remember the wisdom of King Solomon, whose ring bore the timeless letters of “This too shall pass.” Life's journey often leads us through unexpected twists and turns. Trust that in whatever place you find yourself, you are meant to be. Know that every step has a purpose. For only when it's dark can you see the stars shine. Let this ring be a gentle reminder. You may not feel in control over your life, but you are deeply loved by the One who is.

Engraved on the ring in both Hebrew and English it reads: THIS TOO SHALL PASS—the exact words from the ring in the story that I just told my mom. Not only does this feel like a godwink, but it seems like a beautiful reminder that G-d has a plan for each and every one of us. The reason this could make a rich man weep is because riches don’t last. But the poor man would cry tears of joy knowing that “this too shall pass.” Not even hardships can last forever, and that’s a pretty powerful thing to remember when life feels at its worst.

Maybe my fight against cancer is a lesson in trust, but I feel like G-d might be telling me that everything will be okay—one way or another. Whether I do die from melanoma (like doctors keep saying) or if I miraculously beat this, at least I feel like G-d will be by me each step of the way. The good, the “bad,” it’ll all be all right because somehow there really is a plan—for all of us.

(The ring is from TheHonestJewelerShop.com (Honest Jeweler) if you want to see a picture of it.)

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