Though this is normally a parenting blog, I had an Ellul-worthy inspiration I would like to share. It’s sort of a parent acting like a child type situation.
I admit that I do not make enough time for myself and suffer a bit of a martyr complex. I broke out of that for a change and ordered myself some nice bath soaps. It had been awhile since I indulged my love for bath soaps since I find the sales sort of addictive: Buy 2 get 1 free, 75% off, free lip gloss with purchase, etc. At one point, I had a medicine cabinet filled with all that stuff with no room for any actual medicine. When I finally used it all up, I refused to get caught up in all that again and did not buy another product for many years. Bar soap and normal shampoo for me.
But as soon as I hit the “purchase” button, my addiction gained a little energy again. I felt a certain excitement and anticipation at the thought of these products arriving at my door. I couldn’t wait for that moment and the subsequent baths I would take. Well, I knew they couldn’t possibly come on day one. Day two was probably not likely either. But Day three my anticipation kicked into overtime. While I went through the motions of doing what I needed to do that day, I had one ear towards the door for deliveries. I had to go out at one point and there was a Fed Ex slip waiting for me when I came back. I felt such betrayal and anger. How could I have missed it? Did I really have to go to that children’s program soooo much? In any event, I dejectedly signed the slip and left it in the spot. The next day, I went on a trip with the children and I came back and again, no package. I was furious. What happened with the slip? It turned out, that delivery was for my husband. He always needs to order parts for his technology business. I felt such a sense of loss. Then it really dawned on me — what in the world was happening to me?
All these extreme emotions over a silly package, which rarely lives up to their expectations anyway. The real moment of truth: Do I feel this strongly over Moshiach’s arrival? We are supposed to yearn for him every day. Besides having a stray thought or two about him when I hear of bad news, how often and intensely do I think about him? Then I began to feel true shame. Here I was misplacing my emotions onto some silly package instead of the real focus of the Jewish nation’s dreams and goals: the coming of Moshiach.
I would like to say that this was a true turning point for me and I never misplaced my emotions again and have renewed conviction in my thoughts and davening. But that would be a partial lie. I’m a weak human who often succumbs to the trivial parts of life. I am writing this column to remind myself, and possibly all of you, if you suffer from the same weaknesses, to really desperately yearn for Moshiach MORE than we all would for the arrival of an online purchase.