Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Modim - A Prayer of Thanks

We thankfully acknowledge that You are the Lord our G-d and G-d of our fathers forever. You are the strength of our life, the shield of our salvation in every generation. We will give thanks to You and recount Your praise, evening, morning and noon, for our lives which are committed into Your hand, for our souls which are entrusted to You, for Your miracles which are with us daily, and for Your continual wonders and beneficences. You are the Beneficent One, for Your mercies never cease; the Merciful One, for Your kindnesses never end; for we always place our home in You.

The part of this prayer that strikes me is the part I have marked in bold and recount here "...for Your miracles which are with us daily, and Your continual wonders and benefices..."

While walking home one day I stopped at a traffic light waiting for the sign to let me cross. While waiting I noticed a beautiful scent. I looked around and found the lilacs and had to smile. I realized at that moment how blessed I really was. I had not noticed the flowers before, but per chance had stopped to enjoy the smell.

Soon after the encounter at the traffic light I had the opportunity to visit with both my nephew and my niece. Both are approximately the same age (6-7 months old) and only beginning to realize that there is a world around them. They have discovered their hands, and most importantly their thumbs. They have begun rolling and crawling backward trying to get from place A to place B. It is truly an amazing thing to watch.

Over these past five months I have also had the opportunity to volunteer with 1st graders, about 6 years old (going on 17), helping with their reading and writing. They are just beginning to really understand and comprehend what they are reading. They are deep in concentration when forming the letters on the page. They are creating relationships with others in class, figuring out what makes them "friends".

All the things that these children, whether 6 months or 6 years old, are learning the first time, we clearly take for granted. When was the last time we closely examined our fingers? Or carefully concentrated on our handwriting? The ease in walking from one end of the room to the other? The ability to communicate our needs and hopes to another person?

These are all gifts. We generally do not spend any time thinking about these things. Perhaps it may cross our mind to consider our bodies when something isn't working right - when we sprain an ankle, or break a wrist - but generally it doesn't.

These gifts are available to us 24/7 without break. It is human nature to focus on the things we do not have, and to overlook those that we do. This prayer reminds us that we must take time to be thankful for the things we have and take for granted. Start noticing those small things - see how many you can find each day. Perhaps even keep a list - and you'll see what a difference it will make in your life.

Shabbat Shalom.

No comments: