Amidah, belief, Birchat HaShachar, chemo, God, Jewish, Judaism, mastectomy, morning blessings, prayer, synagogue, writing prayer
I realize that I’m skating on thin ice here – I’m going to get a lot of heat from the people who argue with me about God, especially those who think I secretly believe (Judi, I can hear your voice already!) but this whole anniversary thing has put me in the mood for looking back, so if you don’t mind….
I wrote the following prayer on March 9, 1999 at 1:15 am. It was during the lull between the first few sets of chemo and mastectomy. It was a strange limbo-like time while I waited to get better from the chemo so I could have surgery. Afterwards, I had to wait to get better from the surgery so I could have more chemo. Many of you know the surreal nature of cancer treatment all too well so this probably isn’t surprising.
For the record, this prayer does not prove that I believe in God, only that I believe in praying to God. If you have trouble following my reasoning, go back to the post called Believing in God from January 24.
Those who are familiar with the Saturday morning synagogue service will recognize the prayer as a riff on the Birchat Ha’Shachar, the morning blessings, with an additional line lifted from a prayer in the Amidah.
Dear God –
Thank you for making me a wife, daughter, sister, friend.
Thank you especially for making me a mother.
Thank you for making me a woman.
Thank you for making me a Jew.
Thank you for your many wonders that are with me morning, noon and night.
Thank you for giving me these 41 years, and those to come.
Thank you for giving me this wonderful past year.
Thank you for making me the kind of person whom others respond to, and reach out to, and love.
Thank you for not letting me be alone at this terrible time.
Thank you for humor.
Thank you for strength, patience, and perseverance.
Thank you for all the things that give me comfort and healing, and all the people around me.
Thank you for giving me this marvelous career of helping people do tzedakah.
Thank you for standing beside me, every minute, every second, of every day.
Julia Atlas said:
Judi from Ocala said:
Since you already have heard my voice, you know I would write you. As survivors, we have experienced a different spiritual experience. You have written a beautiful prayer and Someone was listening. I am so glad you are here, Jennifer. You are a blessing to us all! Love ya!
It says it all! As the prayerbook says, God doesn’t need our prayers, we do. Allow me to add my thanks as well that you have achieved this anniversary and been a blessing for all these years.
Roscoe George said:
C’est si bon!
You put everything in perspective about God, Gog’s exstence, and prayer.
Maureen Binderman said:
Oh, you’re a believer, girlfriend!!