by Dr. Zev Ballen
Dear Dr. Ballen,
I have been reading the Garden of Gratitude and read the point that if you thank Hashem for an hour each day for the good and for the seemingly not so positive in your life that you will see miracles happen to you.
Here's what happened to me:
I started doing this for an hour a day, even more for the tribulations than the good stuff, which are many in my life. Then I had what was for me a nightmare come up--a root canal, and I am the biggest baby in the world when it comes to dental work. Well, I thanked Hashem for the root canal, every aspect of it (and actually ate more comfortably on that side of my mouth than in the last 3 years).. I then had some foot pain, which I thanked Hashem for. When my son was just acting like a little kid, after all, I thanked Hashem for the minor tribulation and continued along this way for about 10 days.
Last Friday, I was walking to my workplace in Manhattan. My job is located between 6th and 7th Avenue on 21st Street. Ordinarily I walk right down the middle of the sidewalk to get to work. Before my work building, there are two buildings, an apartment building with a recessed entry and a beauty salon. So here I was walking. First, I am on the right side of the street (my workplace is on the left). I said to myself, this doesn't make sense, so I crossed back over to the left. I then was on the sidewalk in front of the apartment building and took a step toward the recessed entry (not down the middle as usual). IN the split second that it took me to take that step, an out of control construction jeep sped by me and slammed into a cement mini wall of planters near the salon, dislocating the particle board base from the planter. I was holding my hot drink and did not have a hair harmed on my head (Thank you, Hashem). The construction worker looked up as white as a sheet and apologized. I told him we were both very lucky that day. The beauty salon owner told me that the construction jeep weighed at least 500LB. I feel that this was a miracle.
The second miracle was that I did not bring my son to work with me that day, according to my original plan.
I have never seen a miracle before, but this was it! While I am going about my daily life, I also have the feelings of "counter reality" of what if that thing would have hit me. Probably years of rehab and/or surgeries and much pain.
What is the best way to deal with a miracle like this? (We are religious people, so that is already a done deal)
Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. These are the types of miracles that I am hearing about increasingly from people, like yourself, who are reading Rav Arush's books and doing an hour of hisbodidus daily. Firstly, you must realize that your soul has undergone changes as a result of the many hours of prayer that you have made. One consequence of your faithful Service to Hashem is that you merited this awesome display of Divine Protection. Nevertheless, it takes time for the physical/psychological self to become acquainted with its new spiritual level. Your spiritual power is simply awesome. The truckers in Manhattan would be wise to stay out of your path.
Helene, in Heaven you have been elevated to an elite group of trusted servants. From Above, they are according you the respect that you have earned. Nevertheless until your psychological and mental apparatus may need more time to integrate this event and you may continue to experience some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as you have described.
I have seen these type of symptoms thousands of times. Under the circumstances, what you are going through is natural and will certainly pass. In the meantime, I hope the following remarks will be helpful to you: Part of the "trauma" that you are currently in is that you really did see an open revelation of Hashem's Great Mercy and Love. Like when the Jewish people actually heard Hashem's voice speaking to them from the mountain-top, you too have been overwhelmed by a firsthand encounter with what you simply read about before. Hashem has also given you the gift of realizing how utterly vulnerable and helpless we are without His protection.
At this point Rav Arush would tell you to alter your hisbodidus schedule in the following way. Devote 30 minutes of your daily hisbodidus just to this incident (but not more time than that). Of course ask Hashem to uproot your symptoms, and calm your fears... Beg Him, as Rav Arush says, to fear no-one just The One! Pray to strengthen your emuna and to bond you to His Eternal Holiness. In addition ask Hashem how you can further serve Him...what more does He want from you? Remember that Hashem certainly would not have shown you this miracle if He didn't have something big planned for you in the future. For example: how does he want you to use your increased closeness to Him to help others? Try listening to more emuna CD's during this time. Do you have Reb Lazer's Calming Waters CD? If with all of this, you continue to be bothered by flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, or that sense of "counter-reality", speak with an emuna-based spiritual guide.
Wishing you Blessings Always,
Dr. Zev Ballen
Thanks, Rabbi Zev,