Counting the Omer – A Spiritual Guide” by Rabbi Simon Jacobson:
Day 25 – Netzach of Netzach: Endurance in Endurance
Everyone has willpower and determination. We have the capacity to endure much more than we can imagine, and to prevail under the most trying of circumstances. Ask yourself: Is my behavior erratic? Am I inconsistent and unreliable? Since I have will and determination, why am I so mercurial? Am I afraid of accessing my endurance and committing? Do I fear being trapped by my commitment? If yes, why? Is it a reaction to some past trauma? Instead of cultivating endurance in healthy areas, have I developed a capacity for endurance of unhealthy experiences? Do I endure more pain than pleasure? Do I underestimate my capacity to endure?
Exercise for the day: Commit yourself to developing a new good habit.
I related, in the previous post, the Counting of the Omer, the days between Passover and Shavu’ot, that Rabbi Pam offered to me. She also gave me Psalms Chapter 67, which has been broken into 49 sections to contemplate during this time period: the 25th “section” is “…the peoples..”. And, in a final paper, from Ethics of the Sages, “Torah is acquired through 48 qualifications, the 25th is “recognizing one’s place.”
All of this has meaning for me today: I do underestimate my capacity to endure, as these have been trying times. I struggle to keep my head afloat and not get bogged down in things. With “the peoples” and “recognizing one’s place”, this all swirled together today.
I was in a fast food restaurant, one that long ago stopped being about speed of service but retaining the moniker. What most people still accept as “fast” nowadays has an entirely different meaning then when the term first sprang up. The lines were long inside and at the drive through, being prime lunch time rush.
Only three registers were open: a manager on one end, an employee who had been there for awhile (so I found out), and the line I was on in the middle. This server was slower, unsure of herself, and not being efficient in her putting together orders. It was obvious, but it was not done with attitude or deliberateness: if you’ve ever worked a food service counter, a long line at peak hour, especially when you are fairly new, can be quite daunting and nerve racking. I’ve been there as both hourly employee and manager: I know.
The woman in front of me was verbally insulting about our counter person, before she even got to place her order. Loud enough to be heard by friends on the line over, and certainly loud enough to be heard by the worker. When she finally got to place her order, it was full of special requests, and yes, she was confusing in her ordering. The order taker tried to read it back to her, only to be interrupted by the woman ordering. Then she lambasted her to her face, then turned around to her friend and semi shouted about how bad the girl was.
Behind me, another woman was sighing and moaning about how slow the girl was, how this wasn’t “fast” food. She did it a few times in my ear, which I assumed she was looking for a reaction. I turned and said that the woman ordering was placing four special orders and was confusing. The woman behind me said “well, I’m sure it’s the girl’s fault.”
When it was my turn to order, you could see the mixed feelings of the server. She was hurt, angry, annoyed…it was all over her face, in her eyes. I was torn between saying something to her (in some ways, to forget these impatient people and their ugly manners) and just getting out. Her manager obviously overheard the other woman, but it was too busy to do anything as she had her own line to deal with.
I thanked the girl when I got my own food, but said nothing. The woman behind me? She placed a special order as well, and wasn’t clear on what she wanted (asking for lemonade when she wanted was a frozen fruit lemonade: I heard her order. The woman was in the wrong). Of course, she went huffy with the server as I was leaving. I am sorry I did not take the minute to say something to the manager. I plan to go in tomorrow at a non busy period and say a word to whatever manager is on duty.
Enduring hostility when it is misplaced seems to be a theme today. In listening to NPR earlier today, there were reports from Muslim leaders who spoke about reactions they received over the bombing in Boston. Hate messages, a Muslim mother with a baby carriage being assaulted, and more, because of an assumption that all of one race, color, creed, gender-whatever-is as guilty as a whole.
I guess, in recognizing my place, it is that I should speak out against injustice, no matter what the backlash could be. We the people…something is lost in today’s world.