Frustations, worries....a perspective

  • 15 June 2018
  • jewishfamily

I see that people nowadays in general have a lot of worries and difficulties and insecurities.  People are worried why they are not married yet, or why they don’t have more money, or why life seems so difficult. People are worried about raising kids, about dealing with  their teenagers, about their jobs, how  to meet the high expenses of today’s society, about why it is we have to spend so much time making money when they would really rather be doing other things (that is probably a great source of frustration!), and most people are frustrated with, or worried about, some aspect of their lives in general.  Why can’t they have a nicer house? A better car? A second car? Live in a better country? A warmer climate? Do something more meaningful?  Have a better social life? Or not as much of a social life (in the case of too much socializing). Nobody seems happy anymore. Everybody has complaints and aggravations. I see it everywhere, in every aspect of society. The contentment with one’s lot is missing.  
Affluent people are frustrated for different reasons as well. 
But everyone has their frustrations and worries.  Nobody is immune! 
We have to learn how to handle frustration and turn it into something positive. To learn how to appreciate what you have and who you are. To learn how to cope with problems and grow from them. 

I once read a story about a man who had a terrible life. His entire family was killed in the war. He suffered from poverty, illness and a whole host of difficulties. But somehow he had a tremendous spirit. When someone asked him how he handled so many problems he answered: “I have had many days that I could not understand;  but I have never had a bad day in my life!”  
That is a very profound statement. He understood that nothing bad comes from Above. There are plenty of things we human beings with our limited knowledge cannot comprehend but he understood that everything G-d does is for the good. And so in his faith and simplicity he truly felt he never had a bad day. Just an incomprehensible day. 

The other day I was walking past a friend’s house. She is a very special person. She suffered through 14 years of childlessness. She and her husband never showed their depression. They always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. I saw over the years how their frustration was there and there was a sad look in their eyes….I noticed how my friend stopped going to parties for babies because it was too painful for her. But she never showed her suffering to others and she never lost  hope. 
She never spoke about their problem. Nobody knew why they could not have children. Everyone prayed for them. 
Finallly, just a few months ago she gave birth to their first baby! It was a miracle. A joy that the entire community shared. 
Her husband told us that his wife had a very rare problem and there did not seem to be much hope…but they went to a doctor who said there was an experimental method they were trying and she decided to give it a go. And it worked for her! It was all a blessing from G-d and that method was simply a messenger to bring down the blessings. But I thought to myself how frustrated my friend must have been for years and years….yet she never gave up and never lost hope and in the end G-d vindicated her trust. It was an example for everyone.  She never showed her frustration at all.  She maintained her trust in G-d and in the end that trust was vindicated. 

My family helps out Jewish prisoners. We send them kosher food and supplies and their holiday needs etc.  
Talk about frustration and suffering! I don’t think anybody can realize what frustration is if they never sat in a prison (may nobody ever have to go through such suffering!). It is a very big test of one’s faith and strength.  I cry for those prisoners. It touches my very soul when I think of their suffering. I light an extra candle for them  Friday night. 
Life in prison is unproductive. In the Torah there is no punishment of imprisonment because that is considered an unproductive life and a human being is created to be productive. 
Although the prisoners suffer terribly, the truth is that their families suffer just as much, if not more. The feeling of seeing one’s husband or father or son in prison is extremely hard to deal with. The prisoner himself goes through the actual suffering but discovers inner strengths to deal with it. The family feels the suffering that person is going through and feels very helpless in many ways. They also develop inner strengths. But their frustration and pain is, in some ways, more than the prisoners. They often feel guilty laughing or enjoying life. How can they feel even a little bit happy while their loved one is in prison?  And that is besides the suffering the family goes through by being alone and also feeling the shame when people find out their relative is in prison.  This is an aspect of society that is too often ignored or misunderstood. “the forgotten ones” is what I call prisoners….they are locked away from society and people forget about them! That is the worst part. We have to help ; we have to be involved. They deserve care. They are human beings. Many are innocent, wrongly accused. Many have repented of their sins. It is not our job to judge them….we have to help unconditionally.  
My husband has a good friend who spent some months in prison on false charges.  He was locked up in a room without windows and with little light. HE said he felt as if he was back in the womb….and actually, when he was freed he felt like he was reborn. There is an element of the “opposite of life” in a prison setting….it is in fact a very big “kapara” (exchange). My husband’s friend told him that he had a dream and he was told in his dream that he had been destined to go to the next world and to leave this world but instead the decree was changed, through his merits, that he should spend a short time in prison to fulfill that. And as I think about it, being freed from prison is truly like being reborn. Starting anew. 
But while someone is in prison it is a terrible suffering….we must not forget the prisoners or their families. See what they need in terms of material help, spiritual help and just in terms of emotional support. 

As we learn in Torah, the Divine Presence itself is in exile and imprisoned in our unworthy thoughts and deeds…..every soul that is freed from prison releases a spark of that Divine Presence from exile. Every soul that is freed from its own imprisonment in unholiness, or in impurity, also helps to release the Divine Presence and brings the world closer to true redemption. Many of us are imprisoned in our minds, in our lives….without actually being in a physical prison. Sometimes emotional, psychological or spiritual imprisonment is worse! We all should pray for freedom from any problems any human being may have. And by praying for others we are answered as well…. 

I thought that imprisonment was probably the ultimate in frustration and suffering….until my friend’s husband passed away at a relatively young age. He was a wonderful man, very kind, caring and full of happiness. They were a very wonderful couple, very happily married since a young age. Suddenly his wife was alone. Suddenly she had nobody to share her life with, to talk to…..and she could not even confide in her husband her fears, worries, loneliness etc. THAT is frustration at its ultimate (may nobody know of such things). There are so many things a person wants to say, but cannot. So many things a person wants to tell the other person, but has no response back (even if you feel the other person hears and the neshomah is still there). Life takes on a new dimension. But the frustration and suffering is there.  That man’s wife did not know how to cope with sudden loneliness….she was so used to having her husband by her side, to waking up each morning to his face and voice….she has children , thank G-d, but even the children cannot replace her spouse or bring her complete comfort. 
Families of prisoners feel some percentage of this suffering when one member of the family is suddenly not home, is not there to speak to, ask advice from, receive comfort or security from…..it feels a bit like what happens after 120 years. Suddenly life is turned upside down and everything changes. 

Then I started to think about all the people being blown up , maimed, killed in terrorist attacks around the world….I was particularly thinking about Israel.  I could only imagine the frustration and pain they and their families are going through on a constant basis. 
Suddenly people are turned into vegetables, in wheelchairs, without legs, without limbs…or suddenly a family is left without its father, or mother, or child….so suddenly. The people feel cheated. They feel the government is not protecting its citizens. They feel that nobody is speaking the truth and people are being killed. They feel they have nobody who will listen to their complaints properly or will protect them properly or do what is right for the security of Israel and the nation of Israel. That is a terrible feeling of stress, frustration and aggravation. No wonder many Israelis are aggressive sounding! 
If everyone would come out and say the truth, that G-d gave Israel to the Jews and no power or force in the world has the right to give back one inch of the land to any other nation, the problems would basically be over. There would be nothing to “negotiate” about because you cannot negotiate G-d’s will. But when people do not speak the truth and are ashamed to say what is the spiritual reality, that is when the problems begin. That is why there is danger to so many people. And that is one of the biggest frustrations this generation is facing! 
This is not really a political forum but everyone should begin to express their views on this matter so perhaps the world will begin to see things differently and to understand. We definitely have to express our support for those who are suffering and feel there is nobody who cares what is happening to them. We have to show care.