I haven’t been doing as much ‘Sefirat HaOmer’ stuff as I hoped on the blog this year, partially because it took a lot of effort to get ’49 Days’ out, before the Omer, and partially because I’ve had a heck of a lot of stuff going on since Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
But in this, the last week of counting the Omer, and heading into the last days, I have a story to share with you that sums up very nicely the power of today, ‘The spiritual dimension focusing on gratitude.’
As you may or may not know, my eldest started Ulpana (religious girls’ boarding school) last year, and really has been hating every minute.
The school she ended up in as miles away from civilization, surrounded by desert, and has a bus that gets to it precisely once a week from Jerusalem.
If she misses that bus (as does occasionally happen…) it’s a 5 hour round trip for me or my husband to drop her off.
But that’s not all: the school itself is well-meaning but SOOOO boring. There is no library, two extra-curricular classes (either pottery, or drama), no sports (they didn’t even have a sports teacher, the first two months) – and absolutely nothing to do to keep the girls occupied after classes are finished.
My daughter has been going slowly bonkers there for months, but decided to stick it out because she persuaded her best friend to go to that school too, and she felt super-guilty about leaving her in the lurch.
Then three months’ ago, Hashem did a miracle: The best friend flunked out of school, and her parents yanked her out and put in the local high school. With that problem resolved, my daughter was free to find another place.
Just one difficulty: every single school we applied to, that she was even remotely interested in, told us that they were full. By last week, with just two weeks’ to go, things were looking pretty desperate, and I had no idea where else to try.
Cue: the unexpected phone call from a new ulpana who mistakenly thought I’d tried to contact them. On the face of things, it didn’t sound so promising: The girls get up at 5.30am to go and work in the fields for a couple of hours before really starting the rest of their day.
My daughter is NOT a morning person. Still, the headmistress sounded so darned enthusiastic and plain nice, that I asked my daughter if she’d attend the open day, just to see. “Look, God arranged for them to phone me out of the blue,” I explained to her. “So maybe, this is the place!”
But she agreed to go along to the open day that happened to be last Thursday. I risked a text mid-day, to ask her how it was going.
‘Good!’ came back the reply.
For the first time in months, I started to hope that maybe, just maybe, we’d found my daughter a school she could be happy in.
Long story short, my daughter came back glowing, so happy to have met girls on her wavelength, and willing to try crazy ideas like getting up at 5.30am to pick tomatoes…
The school accepted her formally this week, and for the first time in a year, I heard my daughter giggle again.
She hasn’t giggled for ages.
In the past, I’ve tried marathon prayer sessions to get things to move, school-wise , for my kids, and sometimes they’ve worked a treat. This time round, I didn’t have the energy to do that. But God showed me that He still cares, He was still looking out for my daughter, and He loves us anyway.
Even without a six hour hitbodedut, God still pulled the right string, to get my daughter into the right school, at the right time.
But if I want her to get up at 5.30am in the morning, something tells me that a bit more praying may still be in order.