The Rainbow After the Storm
By; Eliora Kirkman
Many of us have goals in mind for ourselves. We step forward with confidence and hope for the best. But when setbacks come, as they always do, it’s difficult not to become discouraged when the storm sets in. The old Yiddish saying goes; “Man plans, G-d laughs”. Even so, we continue to try to achieve our goal. We push ourselves forward and continue on. Sometimes that’s a very good ethic. However, how do you maintain faith when events in your life leave you discouraged and sometimes even heartbroken? The greatest kind of faith is the type that you keep even in the hardest of times.
The times when you hurt the most are the times when Hashem wants to hear you praying to Him. Again, it’s difficult when you call out to Him and don’t always get an immediate response. Let’s pretend that you’re having a hard time staying present in hisbodedus. If you’re a newcomer to meditation, you can tell yourself that it takes practice, and you can easily keep trying. However, if you’ve been practicing it for a longer period of time, and all of a sudden it’s almost unbearable to keep focus; you may wonder what’s wrong. It’s saddening when your hard work seems to be melting away. You may be hurting because of the situation you’ve found yourself in. You may wonder what to do next. The best possible thing you can do is to keep faith.
One of the greatest of pains for a spiritual person is when their spirituality seems to be drifting slowly away from them. You look back and remember when you used to daven with such splendor every morning. The words might not be bringing you such splendor anymore. That simple hurt and disappointment does build up. Next you may move on to Talmud study, and you can’t understand the argument. You may look out the window and say to Hashem, “What gives?”, as in, “Why are You doing this to me?” Hashem gives. He gave you this hurt and He wants you to use it.
As you’ve probably heard before if you’re reading this article, keep saying “Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman”. Say it when you’re at work and you didn’t get much sleep last night. The assignments keep piling up and you may not have even completed the first one yet. Say it after you had faith in Hashem and completed what needed to get done. Remember chapter 40 of the book of Isaiah, verse 31? “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” If you keep having faith, the work load will become easier. The spiritual “work load”, having faith, keeping hope in Hashem, and davening during your pain will become easier.
Make sure that the pain you experience in your life is not in vain. We are gifted with pain, and I truly do mean “gifted”. Pain is what moves us away from the material and into the spiritual. It’s what brings us closer to Hashem. He has many reasons for giving us this gift, but perhaps one of the most important reasons for the gift is because He wants to bring us closer. He wants us to keep saying “Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman”. He wants us to stay spiritual and think of Him with everything we do. By doing these things, we will “run and not grow weary”. What we once found to be terribly difficult will soon become a simple matter.
If you keep faithful, only good can come from your efforts. You will still have your setbacks, but that’s not the result of your hard efforts. It’s the result of needing to continue on and keep trying. The great Rebbe Nachman of very blessed memory had said, “The more time you spend wallowing in self-pity, the more you lay yourself open for even more trouble”. If you sit in your painful situation and don’t use the gift of pain you were given, nothing will come from your efforts. So, that said, use the pain. Later, use the faith you learned from your pain to help you again when another seemingly bleak situation confronts you. There is always a rainbow after the storm.