Yom Rivii, 1 Shevat 5778
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 “Avinu Malkeinu, let us wake up to the blessings already in our grasp.”

What a beautiful and simple idea. I mean how hard is it to appreciate the things in your life that you are thankful for and feel blessed to have. Yet for more times than I care to admit, I have to say that I mostly recognized my blessings when hearing about someone else’s misfortune-- “Did you hear they lost everything in that fire?”, “Poor thing, he’s getting a divorce”, “His mom told me that he was arrested yesterday?” which of course made me thankful for a roof over my head, a loving husband, and sons who are law abiding. And then it happened to me-- I was the one who experienced the misfortune- the benchmark for which others were probably counting their blessings. Two years ago, I had a heart attack. The type of heart attack I had was very rare, a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), in which one of my coronary arteries spontaneously tore and created a blood flow blockage causing the heart attack. Having suffered a SCAD is scary and awful, but it did come with a silver lining. It made me slow down and be present, really present. And, as cliché as this might sound, it gave me a new perspective about what was important in my life, what I chose to spend my time doing and who I chose to spend my time with. Once I made these deliberate and intentional choices, I began to see, experience and appreciate the ordinary moments in my life as the everyday blessings already in my grasp—sitting next to my husband reading the paper, talking on the phone to my boys, laughing with my mom, waking up. So as strange as this might sound, my heart attack wasn’t really a misfortunate event at all; it was an opportunity for me to become aware of all the blessings around me.

--Patti Bridwell, Temple Administrator