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G‑d’s Treasure Chest

G‑d’s Treasure Chest

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I’m not sure what spurred it, but this morning, during my prayers, my mind wandered.

Maybe it was because I was in the midst of teaching a five-part series on prayer. Or maybe it was simply the hope of stretching out the prayers because of the list of tasks and chores that awaited me once I concluded.

Whatever the case, my contemplation led me to some serious questioning about prayer. My mind wondered: Do You, G‑d, really hear my prayers? Do my prayers have any significance or meaning to You? How could they? If You are truly the Master and Creator of all, as I had just mouthed from the prayer book, why would You care for or need my humble expressions of my feelings toward You? How could the stream of words exiting my mouth, some with deliberation, some just stumbling carelessly out amidst thoughts of deadlines at work, an appointment I need to arrange, or the button that I need to sew on my daughter’s blouse, possibly be of worth to You?

With these thoughts, I concluded my prayers and began my work day. Soon I was working busily at my computer preparing a report that was due by the day’s end.

Though they are an integral part of my life, I admit that I am no fan of computers. As much as computers help me, they never fail to frustrate me. And today was no exception.

I tried my best, but for some reason the internet connection was down. If I got lucky, I was able to get connected only to lose the connection moments later as the whole system crashed. I soon realized that, with my lack of computer savvy, I was simply incapable of solving the problem on my own.

As frustration set in, I recalled once again my morning dilemma. To me, this was yet another proof, substantiating my point. If getting connected to just another computer over a phone line required such expertise, and even the smallest problem—a virus, a line of code that needed updating or a small glitch on the system—could ruin the connection, all the more so a connection with You, who is so infinitely apart and distant from me! Maybe a “prayer expert” could create a connection without any interference problems, but what could I possibly accomplish?

Late that evening, I wearily dragged myself off to bed after a full day. My early morning question returned as I was about to recite the Shema prayers, which are said before retiring. That was when I noticed something on my pillow.

Lying haphazardly was a small crumpled white sheet of paper with colorful markings. In the center was a huge, misshapen orange-crayoned heart. Inside the heart, in my seven-year-old daughter’s inimitable, partially legible handwriting, were purple letters forming this message: DEAR MOM, I LUV U. THANKS FOR BENG MY MOM.

As I read those ten crayoned words, the question that gnawed at me all day dissolved.

Did I need this card? Of course not. Why, I had bought the paper and crayons myself and given them to my daughter. After several days, when my daughter wouldn’t notice, I will unobtrusively discard it, just like I had with so many of her and her siblings’ cards from the past. I try to keep some of their cards in a small treasure chest on my dresser, but eventually they reach their final resting place in the trash because no one has room for so much clutter.

But at that moment, this card was more beautiful than the most precious painting. It didn’t bother me that the words were misshapen and spelled incorrectly. I didn’t care that the purple and orange color coordination was a clashing eyesore. Nor did I consider how much thought or care she put into it, or whether her behavior tomorrow would be in accordance with her fond message of love. Because, to me, none of those things mattered.

It meant the world to me that a seven-year-old girl who loves to draw took out a minute of her day to scribble some tender words on a paper. Gazing at the little scrap of paper lying on my pillow filled me with a warmth that was beyond explanation. My daughter’s small note forged a bond of connection, appreciation and love that was stronger than any glitches and interference could possibly disrupt—despite her lack of expertise, foresight and artistry.

The next time I pray, I will picture my words forming an offering of awkwardly crayoned words and forms on a piece of crumpled paper expressing my deep love and longing to be connected with You. I will picture the large treasure chest that I am sure You must keep overflowing with all our prayers—even our most simple verbal scribbles. I will imagine You taking the time to tenderly read through our cards, made up from our tears, our innermost thoughts, hopeful wishes and gratitude.

I have no doubt that You keep and treasure each of our tiniest offerings. After all, I'm sure You aren’t worried about the clutter.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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louise leon long pond, PA September 13, 2012

reprise I was happy to reread above comments, including my own, since I promptly forget what I blog. Ruth Housman, you owe us to write a book. I'll definitely buy several copies. Reply

Lawrie September 12, 2012

G d’s Treasure Chest Yeah Our G_d loves us inspite of ourselves. I don't need to prove myself to Him. He knows me more than I know myself. There are times when I think I'm not worthy, but He says "You are worthy". Even when I break away from Him, My G-d bring me back to Him. Never lets me out of His sight, am always within His purview, His range. Todah Rabba Reply

Dani'el Kannan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia July 2, 2011

Our Personal G_D Thank you Chana.

I am a Mlaysian Gentile, 49, and just want to thank you for such an uplifting article.

You have created a beuatiful article that is beyond intelligent writing...like a composer writing a piece of music or a painter painting...

all i can tell you is after reading your article, a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude overcame me and i just closed my eyes to say a heartfelt prayer..."Thank You Awesome G-d...for this is the day that You have made and let us rejoice & be glad in it....

Thank YOU. Reply

Judy February 27, 2011

PRAYER I am trying to learn to pray and your articles and reader comments are helpful. Today I realized that my day can include a running conversations with G-d and not have to set aside a particular prayer time, which feels artificial to me. I hope to be reading more on your website that can help me on my journey toward meaningful prayer and conversation with G-d. Reply

Anonymous long pond, PA November 29, 2010

connectiion I believe that G=d knows when we REALLY need help and he hears those prayers first.That's been my experience.When I prayed to pass a French exam in high school, I figured G-d had more important things to be concerned about. When I seriously considered suicide, I "heard" a little voice telling me it wasn't such a hot idea. Suffice it to say, I'm still alive. Reply

Anonymous Seattle, Wash. November 18, 2010

Today's clutter, tomorrow's treasure You might want to think twice before chucking notes like this. There are worse things in life than clutter. Now that our daughters are in their early 20s, proud Jews and self-supporting young women, some of our greatest delights are running across their childhood scribblings. They help give meaning to the clutter that is an unavoidable part of life. Remember, it's in clutter, tohu vavohu ("utter chaos"), that creation and Torah begin. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY November 18, 2010

That is beautiful. Reply

Ruth Housman Marshfield Hills, MA November 18, 2010

like snowflakes This is beautiful. I was thinking yesterday that the ultimate paradox is talking to G_d, as I do, more and more these days, and asking, "Are these my thoughts, or yours?" I say this because I do deeply believe Divinity resides in all of us. Maybe it doesn't matter. My son when he was little, when I asked, "How does G_d work?" replied, and he was only about three and a half. "You take a step and then G_d takes a step."

So I asked, "How do I know which step is G_d's and which, mine?" To which he replied, "O Ma, does it really matter?"

What matters is the impulse to express love, and then of course to say it, with the passion that wells up, that is about Love itself.

My mantra, "I love, therefore, I am."

I believe, those little loving hearts, all those scraps of paper, from your children, from those you love, amount to one big manuscript, one large outpouring of snowflakes, each one, totally unique and beautiful. Reply

Esther Dukesz Thornhill November 17, 2010

G-d's treasury box Very well written. Very good to hear such message.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to teach us all these wonderful lessons Reply

Mariam Kaiser Bahawalpur, Pakistan November 17, 2010

G-D cares. Amen. And thanks, Chana for this inspiration.You make me cry and, yes we all need to keep in mind that G-D loves us all. Reply

Frumstepper November 16, 2010

great thought! I loved the metaphor. it reminds me how G-d loves me with all my warts and dumplings. He doesn't need me to be erudite or original. He just wants me to remember that He is there for me at all times and in all circumstances. He wants me to remember to connect. Thanks!. Reply

Bill Kelley Tifton, GA/USA November 15, 2010

G_d loves each one of us I am a 71 year old Gentile who has been a believer since I was 5. You have hit what I count as G_d's biggest and most important nerve, each of us are personally important to Him. Not just a little bit, but absolutely. I don't understand it, but I don't have to because I do believe it. At best, our feeble efforts matter because, like He did with David, He knows our heart and our intent. Reply

Rick El Paso, Texas January 16, 2010

Great Thoughts Thank you for this. It put so much in perspective for me. Reply

Norman Siller Orlando, fL June 21, 2009

TRUE MEANING Thanks! I have the same problems. But you summed up what it all means. We need just connect. G-d is always there. We're the ones who forget. Reply

Kimberly murphy, NorthCarolina June 10, 2009

My 3 yr old son... This week I have my 3 yr old son and this essay just reminded me how much I loved him, thank you. Reply

Anonymous June 10, 2009

worth more than gold Your article made me think of my son, who made so many of these types of notes and drawings while he was young. I kept most of them, and I'm so glad I did because he's now with HaShem, and I no longer have him. Each and every hand written note and crayoned drawing of "I love you Mom..." Is worth more to me then anyone could ever imagine. Reply

Anonymous March 30, 2009

this article was AMAZING thank you. i really enjoyed reading it. Reply

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