Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I’m Just Fine in Here

 

Many years ago, my husband and I were invited to a small dinner party by friends of ours. We didn’t know the other people who attended, but I had heard of one of them. Her name was Peggy. She was a minister at the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach, CA and was living with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. At this point, she was confined to a wheelchair and was there with her husband. Someone who knew her but hadn’t seen her in a while asked her how she was doing. She answered, speaking with some difficulty, “I’m just fine in here.” I felt her smile and her face was glowing. I was so moved by the peace and joy she had found.

* * * *

At this time of year, Jews are preparing for the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. One of my Torah study partners shared that there are many customs that can be practiced in this month of Elul and I wasn’t aware of them, so I did a little homework. Here is part of what I learned :

Elul is also the month of soul-accounting. A businessman occasionally needs to calculate an overall profit-and-loss statement, as well as a detailed ledger. We too need to conduct an annual audit of the state of our spiritual “business.” The entire year we are involved in accruing profit: serving G‑d through Torah-study, mitzvah-observance, prayer and good deeds. In the month of Elul, we make a general reckoning of all we have done throughout the year.

My partner shared that Elul was a time when we could also commit personally to a process or behavior that would prepare us for this significant part of the year and the year ahead. Coincidentally, I told her that I had committed to remind myself throughout each day that G-d was with me. It isn’t just an exercise for me; I bring G-d to mind at times of gratitude, at times of confusion or struggle or unease. When I make this effort, I am deeply comforted and drawn out of my self-pity to refocus on the people and world around me.

For those of us who are religious, who feel the isolation and sadness of these times, I think we can be comforted to know that regardless of what is happening, G-d is always, always there.

And find the peace of mind to say, “I’m just fine in here.”

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  1. EODmom Coolidge

    What a lovely way to express it. I, too, am strengthened and reassured when I affirm God’s grace and express my gratitude. It helps me move away from fear. I’m glad you carry the memory of that encounter. You have such a graceful way of writing. 

    • #1
    • September 4, 2020, at 9:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn:

    For those of us who are religious, who feel the isolation and sadness of these times, I think we can be comforted to know that regardless of what is happening, G-d is always, always there.

    And find the peace of mind to say, “I’m just fine in here.”

    That last is probably the most important one of all.

    When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    It is well with my soul,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    • #2
    • September 4, 2020, at 9:05 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    EODmom (View Comment):

    What a lovely way to express it. I, too, am strengthened and reassured when I affirm God’s grace and express my gratitude. It helps me move away from fear. I’m glad you carry the memory of that encounter. You have such a graceful way of writing.

    Thank you so much, @eodmom. I’ve had more than my usual ups and downs lately, so I appreciate that I’ve been just a little helpful.

    • #3
    • September 4, 2020, at 9:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    For those of us who are religious, who feel the isolation and sadness of these times, I think we can be comforted to know that regardless of what is happening, G-d is always, always there.

    And find the peace of mind to say, “I’m just fine in here.”

    That last is probably the most important one of all.

    When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    It is well with my soul,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    For those of us who are religious, who feel the isolation and sadness of these times, I think we can be comforted to know that regardless of what is happening, G-d is always, always there.

    And find the peace of mind to say, “I’m just fine in here.”

    That last is probably the most important one of all.

    When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    It is well with my soul,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    I love when it is sung:

     

    • #4
    • September 4, 2020, at 9:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I thought about posting Wintley Phipps’ live version, when he discusses what effect the song has had on him.

    • #5
    • September 4, 2020, at 9:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    • #6
    • September 4, 2020, at 12:47 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    It’s right where you left it.

    Go look.

    • #7
    • September 4, 2020, at 1:08 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    It’s right where you left it.

    Go look.

    Thank you, @percival. I wanted to respond to @raxxalan in a helpful way and couldn’t see how to do that. You are right. G-d is always available, always present; we just have to ask Him in.

    • #8
    • September 4, 2020, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. I. M. Fine Coolidge

    “…in here.” So beautifully expressed.

    Reminds me of another beautiful promise: “The kingdom of G-d does not come with observation, nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of G-d is within you.” (Luke 17:21)

    Thank you for the ray of sun through the clouds.

     

    • #9
    • September 4, 2020, at 5:57 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    It’s right where you left it.

    Go look.

    Thank you, @percival. I wanted to respond to @raxxalan in a helpful way and couldn’t see how to do that. You are right. G-d is always available, always present; we just have to ask Him in.

    He and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. I am extremely angry at him still. This is pretty much a natural reaction to loss, from what I have read. I figure he has broad enough shoulders to understand that.

    • #10
    • September 5, 2020, at 8:04 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    I thought about posting Wintley Phipps’ live version, when he discusses what effect the song has had on him.

    What a lovely story, and a great rendition.

    Another version of a favorite hymn. Poor Horatio Spafford, who wrote it, endured more sadness and hardship than any single person has a right to–and eventually suffered a nervous breakdown. But somehow, somewhere inside him, he found the peace and the strength to write this lovely hymn:

     

    • #11
    • September 5, 2020, at 8:41 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Ron Selander Member

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    It’s right where you left it.

    Go look.

    Thank you, @percival. I wanted to respond to @raxxalan in a helpful way and couldn’t see how to do that. You are right. G-d is always available, always present; we just have to ask Him in.

    He and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. I am extremely angry at him still. This is pretty much a natural reaction to loss, from what I have read. I figure he has broad enough shoulders to understand that.

    Sometimes it takes a mountain: https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=vMFTX_jKM9DbtAa9ipTIBQ&q=sometimes+it+takes+a+mountain&gs_ssp=eJzj4tVP1zc0TDbOLSrMMcsxYPSSLc7PTS3JzE0tVsgsUShJzAYyEhVy80vzShIz8wBgYA_i&oq=sometimes+it+takes&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQARgAMgUILhCTAjICCAAyAggAMgIILjICCC4yAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADoOCAAQ6gIQtAIQmgEQ5QI6CAgAELEDEIMBOggILhDHARCjAjoLCC4QsQMQxwEQowI6BQgAELEDOgUILhCxAzoICC4QxwEQrwE6CwguEMcBEKMCEJMCOgsILhCxAxDHARCvAToOCC4QsQMQxwEQrwEQkwI6CAguELEDEJMCUMwvWM_bAWCF9AFoAXAAeACAAVWIAZgKkgECMTiYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6sAEG&sclient=psy-ab

    • #12
    • September 5, 2020, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    It’s right where you left it.

    Go look.

    Thank you, @percival. I wanted to respond to @raxxalan in a helpful way and couldn’t see how to do that. You are right. G-d is always available, always present; we just have to ask Him in.

    He and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. I am extremely angry at him still. This is pretty much a natural reaction to loss, from what I have read. I figure he has broad enough shoulders to understand that.

    Ask for help. He’s always there.

    • #13
    • September 5, 2020, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Ron Selander (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    It’s right where you left it.

    Go look.

    Thank you, @percival. I wanted to respond to @raxxalan in a helpful way and couldn’t see how to do that. You are right. G-d is always available, always present; we just have to ask Him in.

    He and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. I am extremely angry at him still. This is pretty much a natural reaction to loss, from what I have read. I figure he has broad enough shoulders to understand that.

    Sometimes it takes a mountain: https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=vMFTX_jKM9DbtAa9ipTIBQ&q=sometimes+it+takes+a+mountain&gs_ssp=eJzj4tVP1zc0TDbOLSrMMcsxYPSSLc7PTS3JzE0tVsgsUShJzAYyEhVy80vzShIz8wBgYA_i&oq=sometimes+it+takes&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQARgAMgUILhCTAjICCAAyAggAMgIILjICCC4yAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADoOCAAQ6gIQtAIQmgEQ5QI6CAgAELEDEIMBOggILhDHARCjAjoLCC4QsQMQxwEQowI6BQgAELEDOgUILhCxAzoICC4QxwEQrwE6CwguEMcBEKMCEJMCOgsILhCxAxDHARCvAToOCC4QsQMQxwEQrwEQkwI6CAguELEDEJMCUMwvWM_bAWCF9AFoAXAAeACAAVWIAZgKkgECMTiYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6sAEG&sclient=psy-ab

    The Gaither Vocal Band is one of my favorites (although I’m less enthused with the change in personnel) and David Phelps is a gem. Thanks for sharing this, @ronselander.

    • #14
    • September 6, 2020, at 8:39 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I think, too, that underlying @raxxalan‘s comment is the angst we feel when we have terrible things happen. Think of the Holocaust, where many people not only abandoned Judaism (I’m not saying you’re abandoning G-d, raxxalan), but stopped believing in G-d. I think the Jews knew at some level that G-d could not rescue them. That even when people did terrible things, they, too, had free will and could act that way. Yet aren’t there some actions where G-d must feel compelled to intervene? I suspect when G-d sees us suffer, He suffers with us. With the Holocaust, His suffering must have been unimaginable. But when he gave us free will, it wasn’t conditional. Terrible people can do terrible things. We only need to look at the current riots in our own time.

    • #15
    • September 6, 2020, at 8:44 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I think, too, that underlying @raxxalan‘s comment is the angst we feel when we have terrible things happen. Think of the Holocaust, where many people not only abandoned Judaism (I’m not saying you’re abandoning G-d, raxxalan), but stopped believing in G-d. I think the Jews knew at some level that G-d could not rescue them. That even when people did terrible things, they, too, had free will and could act that way. Yet aren’t there some actions where G-d must feel compelled to intervene? I suspect when G-d sees us suffer, He suffers with us. With the Holocaust, His suffering must have been unimaginable. But when he gave us free will, it wasn’t conditional. Terrible people can do terrible things. We only need to look at the current riots in our own time.

    I am an agnostic, but one of the estimable values of belief in an afterlife is how it aids you in this life. You behave with greater dignity and personal honor than one would tend to do if simply staying alive was your paramount goal. It is fear of death and the permanent end of existence that is the great tool of the tyrant.

    • #16
    • September 6, 2020, at 9:04 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    I am an agnostic, but one of the estimable values of belief in an afterlife is how it aids you in this life. You behave with greater dignity and personal honor than one would tend to do if simply staying alive was your paramount goal. It is fear of death and the permanent end of existence that is the great tool of the tyrant.

    True. For Jews, however, there is little focus on the afterlife. We are called to live the best possible life, and assume if we do, the afterlife will take care of itself. So for Jews who died in the Holocaust, and who lost many members of their families, the afterlife didn’t offer the same comfort as it would for Christians.

    • #17
    • September 6, 2020, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. Ron Selander Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Ron Selander (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    It is in these times of isolation and sadness that I miss my faith and most profoundly feel its lack. @susanquinn cherish that comfort and peace it is a great gift.

     

    It’s right where you left it.

    Go look.

    Thank you, @percival. I wanted to respond to @raxxalan in a helpful way and couldn’t see how to do that. You are right. G-d is always available, always present; we just have to ask Him in.

    He and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. I am extremely angry at him still. This is pretty much a natural reaction to loss, from what I have read. I figure he has broad enough shoulders to understand that.

    Sometimes it takes a mountain: https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=vMFTX_jKM9DbtAa9ipTIBQ&q=sometimes+it+takes+a+mountain&gs_ssp=eJzj4tVP1zc0TDbOLSrMMcsxYPSSLc7PTS3JzE0tVsgsUShJzAYyEhVy80vzShIz8wBgYA_i&oq=sometimes+it+takes&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQARgAMgUILhCTAjICCAAyAggAMgIILjICCC4yAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADoOCAAQ6gIQtAIQmgEQ5QI6CAgAELEDEIMBOggILhDHARCjAjoLCC4QsQMQxwEQowI6BQgAELEDOgUILhCxAzoICC4QxwEQrwE6CwguEMcBEKMCEJMCOgsILhCxAxDHARCvAToOCC4QsQMQxwEQrwEQkwI6CAguELEDEJMCUMwvWM_bAWCF9AFoAXAAeACAAVWIAZgKkgECMTiYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6sAEG&sclient=psy-ab

    The Gaither Vocal Band is one of my favorites (although I’m less enthused with the change in personnel) and David Phelps is a gem. Thanks for sharing this, @ronselander.

    Susan, the Vocal Band is absolutely my favorite. I have most of their CDs! I am guessing here, but I think that there is a ton of self-sacrifice (AND family sacrifice) involved with being a member, so there is some change in personnel. I point to all the “old” members who, after their “exit” appear in the video that I linked and appear in the almost countless reunions that they hold.

    • #18
    • September 6, 2020, at 3:12 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Ron Selander (View Comment):
    Susan, the Vocal Band is absolutely my favorite. I have most of their CDs! I am guessing here, but I think that there is a ton of self-sacrifice (AND family sacrifice) involved with being a member, so there is some change in personnel. I point to all the “old” members who, after their “exit” appear in the video that I linked and appear in the almost countless reunions that they hold.

    I’ve thought about that, too. There’s another young group, Signature Sound, which has changed out almost all of the members except Ernie Haas and one other fellow. There was a young fellow with a young family; we saw them sing with Gaither at a concert, and I noticed how lifeless this young guy appeared. Not too long after that, he was gone. It’s a tough road.

    • #19
    • September 6, 2020, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like