Sunday, August 26, 2012
I have been thinking a lot about an experience I had last month while at Education Week. (a weekend where BYU-Idaho opens up the campus to people for 3 days and has hundreds of Continuing Education classes.)
We signed up for a Passover Dinner celebration with Victor Ludlow. He walked us through the entire evening and how the occasion has been celebrated for decades, adding in his own experiences of traveling to the Holy Lands, and sharing insights from his life long study of the Jewish culture and religion.
There were several things about that night that left a lasting impression on me, and one is a portion of the Passover called, "Dayenu." The reader (Ludlow, in this case) reads stanzas as the dinner guests respond, "Dayenu" each time, and then all the guests sing a song.
The word "Dayenu" means, "it would have been enough for us", "it would have been sufficient", or "it would have sufficed" (day in Hebrew is "enough", and enu means "to us"). The stanzas (there are 15)that the reader recites all refer to blessings that God gave the Jewish people, such as deliverance from Egypt. Some of the stanzas refer to the miracles that God gave them, and the dinner guests say, "Dayenu" after each one, like this:
If He had split the sea for us. (dayenu)
If He had led us through on dry land. (dayenu)
If He had drowned our oppressors. (dayenu)
If He had provided for our needs in the wilderness for 40 years. (dayenu)
If He had fed us manna. (dayenu)
I have pondered many time since that night the importance of feeling and recognizing "dayenu" or, for me, what God has done for me and my family that would have been "enough". I think too often, it is easy to think about what we have right now that might be lacking, and not remember all the good in our lives that has come before. Sometimes, I forget all the miracles that have happened in my life...instead I stand and wait impatiently for the next one.
So since that night, I have tried to say my own version of "dayenu" when I feel prompted or pulled to do so. It sounds different every time, and each time I have done it, I feel a swell of gratitude and a surge of perspective. I see in a tender and fresh way that God has indeed been good to me. Here is what one I say might sound like:
If He had given me my body and soul, dayenu.
If He had given me a good husband, dayenu.
If He had kept us both healthy and safe, dayenu.
If He had given us just 1 child, dayenu.
If He had healed my heart of just one wound, dayenu.
If He had given me 1 person to learn from, dayenu.
What I love most about this meditation/prayer/thought process is the unspoken afterthought of, "but He didn't just do that. He gave me more. Much more."
I hope that this little lesson I learned can be of value to someone out there who reads it, and that you can find a way to see what God has done for you that would have been "enough", and even more importantly, how much He gave you after that.
And if you feel for just a moment the love that He has for you, then...dayenu.