I have sinned.
I got complacent. I forgot all the good things that happen to me. I focus too much on the bad. And I focus too much on the small stuff.
When my father was sick, when I was undergoing my treatment, when every day was a crazy roller coaster, I yearned for normalcy. I wanted small problems, small stuff, like teething children and which dress to wear to a wedding rather than, should I be jumping on the next plane or what to do about really expensive medication that I forgot to refrigerate after it got delivered on second day of Yom Tov. I wanted the problems that every one around me sweating, and I wanted to yell: wake up people, this is small stuff!
Time passed, things have changed, and, slowly things settled in. Now I fret about intake forms for possible PT for 1 yo and how 9 yo is slacking in his schoolwork. But the intensity stayed. What should be viewed as small problems all of a sudden get blown up on the scale of large, full-blown disaster.
This morning, Hashem had a personal message for me: wake up! You are fretting your life away!
A Chabad rebbitzin passed away. She was just a few years older than me. Eight children are left behind without their mother. The community is reeling. And I am shaking.
This is big stuff. All the other daily struggles are small. That PT form? It will get sorted out. 9 yo will not spend his whole entire life as he is now. But a sudden passing of a mother, a devastation wrought on that family, orphaned children: this is the big stuff.
Do I want to spend my energy on being upset about small things? Do I choose to live my life being unhappy, as if there is a later, happier time just beyond horizon, or will I make changes to make my life fulfilling NOW? Do I want to spend my days snapping at the kids because I am overwhelmed? And what if it will be me tomorrow? What will my kids remember? "Yeah, she was a good mom, but always stressed" (or some not-so-flattering version of this). The kids will not remember highlights, they will remember everyday moments. If those are overtaken with frustration and impatience and misery, then what am I doing here? Why am I living as if I will go on like this forever?
It is a very Chassidic concept to be always happy. Incidentally, 9 yo watched a TED talk about hackschooling and happiness today. He said that he agrees that everyone should be happy, only he viewed it that it is all right for a teen to say that, but not for a grown-up. I guess he is not exactly surrounded with positive thinkers here. I am also not so sure whether I have it in me to be always happy. I am not a naturally happy-go-lucky person. That american plastered smile does not come naturally.
What I can do is stop sweating small stuff, because, ultimately, if you spend all your time sweating small stuff, there will be no space to sweat the big stuff.