Belonging, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

“We cannot stop ourselves from being hypercritical...."
                                - Jason Shulman

I hate baseball. 

Yet, I went to a baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago last week.  I was hypercritical.   Dreading the slow dreariness of the most boring game in the world (at least to me!).  I expected rain, too much sun, too many intoxicated people, huge crowds, uncomfortable seats etc., etc. etc.…

Kabbalah teaches us we cannot stop ourselves from being hypercritical of those we love, and of ourselves.  I had good intentions.  It was to be a family vacation with my grandsons, a decision to go along with all of those “guy” preferences because I was outnumbered.  I didn’t want to be left out and lonely.  I wanted to prove to the people I love that I had worth and was a good sport by going along!

I dread feeling separate and left out.  I often feel vulnerable and lonely.  So, I try placating, and going along in some weak effort to belong.  When I can’t tolerate all that invisibility I find myself critical and irritable.   It seems all those around me are ignoring me, putting themselves first.  Oh, I can’t stand the way I don’t feel seen and heard!  Like I do not matter!  

So, as I am teaching my Kabbalah classes to do, I tried praying aloud.  I sang, I yelled, I pleaded with an unseen god.  Please give me patience.  Please take away my irritability.  Please help me smile at those I love the most.  Please!  Please! Please!!!! 

I didn’t really expect an answer.

Then we arrived at the game.   At a lovely 100-yr-old Wrigley field covered with Ivy with an old scoreboard with a real person putting up the scores from behind.  There were lovely neighborhoods of people with season seats happy and hugging and sharing news.

And, those ball players!  Even though we lost the game, the skill was an amazing thing to watch.  I never knew what was happening yet I couldn’t believe how beautifully the players played!

It was fun.  The feeling of unity and oneness for 3 hours was a true sense of belonging.

I smiled a lot.

My prayers were answered after all.