My son and I just registered for a mission to Israel. Each of our children had been promised a trip and his three older sisters have already gone. Now it's Yeshia's turn. A friend of his is also going which should make it a lot more fun.
It's in off-season, so hotel and flights are very reasonable. A good friend of mine is going with her daughter. Since it's a mission, almost everything will be arranged for us.
As for home worries, my mother-in-law is coming out to LA to help my husband with the rest of the family. They've all been invited out for Shabbos meals, the freezer is full, and friends have offered to pitch in.
Sounds wonderful. So why am I a nervous wreck? Why do I lie awake at night imagining everything going wrong?
INVASION OF BASELESS FEARS
Why is my head filled with nightmarish visions of plane crashes, terrorist attacks and house fires? Why do I worry that my husband will forget one of the kids at home in the morning when he leaves for carpool? That they'll get locked out of the house on Shabbos? That they'll forget to look for cars before crossing the street??
Where is my trust in God?
Here I am, terrified, unable to translate what I know intellectually into my emotional reality.
I talk a good game teaching class after class about how "the Almighty runs the world", how "there is nothing other than the Almighty", and how "any sense of control is an illusion." But here I am, terrified, unable to translate what I know intellectually into my emotional reality.
I'd be happier and more relaxed if I "let go and let God." (I think AA got it from us.) All reason tells me this is so. But something in me fights back. I think I can somehow protect myself if I pretend I'm in charge.
The thoughts start up: How can my family function without me? How will the pilot navigate without my guidance? And most importantly, who will keep all the children's books filed the way I like them, by author and in numerical order? I know control is not really in my hands, but my emotions betray me.
THE CHALLENGE OF GIVING UP CONTROL
I'm not alone. Many of my friends and students have confronted the same challenge. I spoke to some of them (those who medicate themselves before they leave home and those who don't!) and we laughed at ourselves.
Why are we choosing the pain of believing we're in control over the comfort of surrendering to the will of the Almighty? Maybe our egos are to blame, afraid of that ultimate act of submission. But who are we fooling?
Let him casts his burdens upon God - He shall deliver him. He shall rescue him ... (Psalms 22:9)
This is my new mantra. By focusing on this idea, I hope to deepen my trust in God and aid my emotions in catching up with my intellect. I'm also trying to laugh more -- at myself and the absurdity of my position.
Behold the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. (Psalms 121:4)
He's done a good job until now. I think I'll let Him continue. There really is no other choice.
Wish me Bon Voyage!