29 Cheshvan 5778 / Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Torah Reading: Toldot
 
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Emuna with Lyme    

Emuna with Lyme



My worries were piling up: being physically disabled, being unable to continue my job as a trainer, even death; I realized that I still had a lot of fear to overcome…

 



This past summer I developed an unusual fever in that it was low grade (between 99.7-100.3) yet it lasted for three days. By the third day, my wife was checking if the doctor could fit me in for an appointment to figure out what was wrong with me. His initial checkup didn't find anything and by that night, the fever had broken. I remember that my wife was lamenting how stressed she feels in these kind of situations. I jokingly remarked, “Well, Rabbi Brody always says that's what Uman is good for. With Rebbe Nachman as my lawyer in Hashem's court, he can smooth out more of these kinds of bumps.” My wife looked at me and said, “OK, fiiiine, you can go...” I was shocked. Just like that, I had permission to go to Uman for the first time in three years since I had even heard about the whole thing. Up until now mind you, she had been adamant about me not going and ditching her with the kids over Rosh Hashana.

 

So I booked my ticket to Uman over the next day or two, happy to be going, and forgot all about my strange fever. A few days later though, I woke up with a sore left wrist. At first, I thought I had just strained it in the gym, but over the next week, my sore wrist increased to arthritic joint pain in many various areas of my body. I also started to develop multiple rashes. At first, I played down my joint pain and discomfort to my wife. I didn't want her to be all worried about me. As it worsened I realized I would have to tell her. Also, not telling her wasn't very spiritually healthy either. I recognized I had fallen into the same trap of dependency I first wrote about in my article “Water Boiler Emuna.” Here I was not being truthful with my wife about my illness and pain because I was trying to prevent her from worrying and control her being happy. Being honest is a Torah value and when I'm willing to act outside of those values, it means I'm placing too much dependency on my wife's happiness. So I told her what was going on with me and my painful joints.

 

Sure enough, when she knew everything, she went into major worry mode. But strangely, that turned out to be a good thing too! My wife's worrying caused her to go online to TorahAnytime.org to look for Emuna videos to watch on her bus commute! I've been working my Emuna program for four years and although my wife has always supported me in working it, she had yet to make much effort on her own besides a half-hearted attempt at reading Women's Wisdom and some late-night personal prayer when she couldn't fall asleep. All of a sudden, she's really worried about me and she's watching Emuna videos on her own! This was a very important lesson for me because it showed me how negative emotions can be used as a force for good as well.

 

Now I'm all excited that my wife is starting to learn Emuna on her own. Next thing I know, I get a text from her that reads, “You should become an Emuna Coach.” It turns out, she found a video lecture by Dr. Zev Ballen where he was discussing his Emuna Coaching program. Rav Arush teaches in The Garden of Peace that a wife is often the mouthpiece for Hashem. So after double checking with Rabbi Brody, who gave me his blessing as well, I signed up for Dr. Ballen's workshop to become an Emuna Coach! I'm about five lessons in so far. I don't know what Hashem has in store for me in this role, but the information I've learned has already helped me with myself tremendously.

 

Speaking of helping me, I had finally gone back to the doctor for more tests. He decided to run a complete battery of blood work to try and determine what was wrong with me. Most people suspected and guessed it would be Lyme. The lab work took quite a few days over which I had to keep calmly reassuring my wife that everything would be okay. Eventually, my wife's worrying set off an alarm bell for me. The Garden of Peace teaches that my wife is not only my mirror but a magnifier as well. Sometimes, she'll reflect something about me that I'm not aware of because it's not on the surface, but way down deep inside me. I decided her ultra-worrying was a sign that I had my own fears to work out with Hashem.

 

I went out for a walk around Teaneck to talk to Hashem. I thanked Him for the illness, whatever it was, I thanked Him for my wife and her worrying, and I asked Him to help me figure out what my fears were that He wanted me to address with Him. As I spoke to Him, I realized that my own supposed calm was due to the fact I was counting on it to be Lyme and that there would be no lasting debilitation from it. I had kind of blocked myself from believing it could be anything else. But when I contemplated worse outcomes, being physically disabled, being unable to continue my job as a trainer, or even death, I realized that I still had a lot of fear about those outcomes.

 

So I started talking to Hashem about all of my fears. “Help me Hashem to know that my feelings are false, that they are a product of the Yetzer. Help me to feel Emuna in my heart, that You run the world and do everything for the best. Help me to remember that just as you've always taken care of me and done what's really for my best, so too, You will continue to take care of me. Help me to know and feel that if I end up disabled, that too is somehow good. Help me to accept that You who created life also created Death and I shouldn't be afraid of that either.” I continued to talk like that with Hashem until thoughts of those other outcomes no longer scared me. When I got home, my wife seemed much calmer as well. She really is spiritually connected to me; the other side of the same coin. I'm grateful I have her in my life as a way to gauge where I'm really at spiritually. We were both happy and thanked Hashem when the report finally did come back as Lyme, easily treated with antibiotics.  

 

As you've read, there were so many positive developments in my life and spiritual journey as a direct result of having Lyme. In my follow-up article, I'll share how all my joint pains were Hashem's Divine Hashgacha Pratis (personal intervention) as well. May we all continue to grow in Emuna and be blessed to recognize the good and “seemingly bad” in our lives as all for the best, Amen!





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