So the miracle that I wanted to happen didn’t happen – I didn’t get to see the doctor I wanted to see and, rather grudgingly, I have to accept that G-d works in mysterious ways, of which I am never going to understand.
However, another very important miracle did happen to me this week and whilst thinking about miracles I have concluded that there are three reactions that people, including myself, have towards them (I calls these ‘attitudes to gratitude’). The first is the Ferrari type reaction. And this was the reaction I had to my miracle this week. My miracle was this – my daughter got potty trained. Let’s face it with my organisational skills and the memory of a goldfish potty training was never going to happen. But my daughter was ready and all she really needed was a little bit of help. So piff puff poof – the miracle happened and someone I didn’t know well (and not someone who knew my problems) , but who was looking after her, was offered to train her. Now miracles don’t just happen by themselves – the sea would not have split unless Moses had actually got there – I had to find this person and this person and this person had to offer. So I thank G-d, from the bottom of my heart, that together Her help, my help and the stranger’s help my daughter has now been potty trained.
The second attitude to gratitude is this:- thanking without thinking. A lot of people do this – whether they are religious or not eg they say ‘My father recovered from his operation, thank G-d’ ‘My daughter is going to get married, thank G-d’ ‘It’s a miracle that you ever got here considering the traffic was so bad’. In Judaism there are plenty of opportunities to thank without thinking – you can say a prayer before and after you eat food, a prayer after seeing a rainbow, a prayer when you wake up and before you go to sleep and another most excruciatingly after you go to the toilet (NB – you are not allowed to say it in the toilet – you have to come outside and then tell everyone, by the fact that you are whispering the rather long prayer , that you have done a number one or number two). But for me most of the time (and I’m sure for a lot of other people) these types of thank yous are superficial – they are just a tone of phrase. It’s like saying thank you to your mum for making you a cup of tea – you don’t really mean ‘Thank you mum. You have gone to an awful lot of effort – firstly you thought to ask me if I was thirsty then you switched on the kettle and got out the mug that I like, the teabag, the milk and the sugar etc etc’ .Thanking without thinking is often just being polite.
And then there is the third attitude to gratitude – Nothing. It’s as if I didn’t say thank you for the tea my mum made or I didn’t think how ‘lucky’ I was that my daughter got potty trained. Even if I didn’t believe in G-d, surely it is polite just to be thankful for something inconsequential or very important, to give me a sense that I am not in control of everything and something else has given me a good turn.
In noticing these three attitudes I realise that the preferred option is Ferrari – to be genuinely grateful for seemingly inconsequential (ie to come out of the toilet and to be genuinely grateful for the ability to function as you have and to meaningful say a prayer or a little thank you to the Power that Exists in the World) and larger acts (that my daughter has been potty trained). However, thanking without thinking, to some extent does the trick but not being grateful ever for absolutely anything is probably going to make you miserable your whole life. So even in my wholly unpleasant situation, I am trying to have the Ferrari attitude to gratitude. It keeps me going in difficult times.
In other news – there isn’t much I am afraid. I was hopeful that the ‘It isn’t what you know but who you know’ approach might work, since someone I knew, knew someone else who knew someone else who was very important in the world of epilepsy. However all that person can do is refer me to the person that I already have an appointment with in mid-October. This October doctor is apparently the only person in the country that can help me (if anyone knows anyone who knows anyone who knows someone who knows about cognition/ executive functioning and epilepsy/ neurological diseases in this country or abroad please let me know). So whilst I am waiting for my appointment and if I get my act together I am going to go to a naturopathic pharmacy and get the ‘medication’ that the naturopathic doctor has prescribed for me and see if that helps me.
And for those observing Tisha B’av a little story – My son wants to be a builder when he grows up. His biggest ambition is to repair the Western Wall because it has holes in it, where people put their ‘wishes’. He is very sad about the fact that it is broken. My son is hoping that with his skills, and G-d’s help it will be rebuilt speedily within his days.