I carried this baby for only thirteen weeks. Every moment was a privilege.

Some souls are too holy to spend time in this blemished earth. So G-d is merciful. He sends them to a pure, protected sanctuary here in the world - inside a mother's womb - and gives them a short, secret mission to fulfill. Then, he brings them back into His presence.

Don't you know what a privilege it is to be the vessel that gets to hold that soul for a short time?

Last night, I held in my hand the tiniest baby I've ever seen. Unmistakably, a life. I told G-d through tears, "Thank you for choosing me to nurture this baby for eleven weeks. Thank you for letting me be a part of this soul's story." And as I fought my way through the forest of thoughts and emotions that inevitably accompany a miscarriage, I kept my eyes focused on a ray of light streaming through, warming me with the realization that

I am a vessel

The filling or emptying is never up to me. But when I willingly give back what is rightfully His to take anyway, He regards is as if I've given an offering. 

We are in the period of the counting of the omer, a commemoration of the period between the offering of the first omer of barley (a small measure) and the giving of the Torah fifty days later. Eliyahu Kitov writes,

Don't feel ashamed if your first offering is poor and small - a single omer of barley for an entire nation. It is sufficient that it be brought...with a true sense of giving. Do not bring me more than this, for you are not yet ready for a major sacrifice and if you bring one, it will not be desired. Rather, if that which you bring is a spirit of true giving, it will be sufficient for Me to bestow upon you an abundance of good from the heavens above and from the earth below.”

The process of parenting is rather agricultural in nature: Planting seeds, nurturing, training little plants, doing everything within one's power to insure that the environment is conducive to proper growth. But the ending result is so completely outside of the farmer's control. And the righteous farmer (or parent) realizes that all of his efforts, no matter how scientifically executed, will not guarantee the result he dreams of. Maybe that is one of the lessons of the omer - G-d asks for a portion of the crop, asks you to give what you grew at a cost, and give it up to him. 

And G-d smiles at those uplifted hands bearing fruits of labor, and hearts that say, "This portion isn't for my pleasure. It's for You." And He gives back beyond what seems commensurate for such a small sacrifice. 

The small thing I gave Him, it's a big thing. And I feel comforted knowing that my small gift somehow translates into an opening for abundance in the world.


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