Will he play or won’t he? Everyone is wondering whether Brett Favre will play in tonight’s Giants-Vikings game. You wouldn’t think it matters. His play has been less than stellar this year, and his Vikings are hopelessly out of playoff contention. So what’s the big deal? Favre holds the record for consecutive games played and if he sits this one out, the streak is over. I remember when Cal Ripken went through the same thing. With him, as his skills diminished, the whispers started. There were those who felt that if he really cared about the team, he would take a day off.
I recently read an article where the author encourages runners to set new goals for the coming year. Among them is to run every day. Start a new streak. I found myself wondering why I should want to do this. Is a streak by itself worthwhile? Aren’t there times where it makes sense to take a day off? Is the person who runs when he shouldn’t a hero or a fool?
For the past 7 ½ months, I have tried to lead prayers at least once a day, as doing so is considered to benefit deceased relatives, in this case, my mom. I have made every effort to do so, even when it meant going to other synagogues or waiting for long periods of time for a service where I could lead. I have worried myself silly when I thought I might miss a day. When I lead the prayers, I find it very hard to concentrate on the words. I am too busy worrying that I will take too long and make people angry. Curmudgeonly old men have complained when services have run 90 seconds too long. Does it benefit my mom if I pray this way, even if I am leading services? Does all this worry reflect concern over one of the last kindnesses I can do for my mom or is it, perhaps, something darker? Perhaps, I am obsessed with keeping a streak alive. I sometimes wonder whether missing a day might be the best thing I could do. Perhaps freed of the streak I could pray again. Maybe acting in a neurotic manner is not the way to honor my mom.
Of course, that said, I can’t do it. I can’t miss a day, at least not by my choice. I doubt that I will make it through the next three plus months leading prayers every day. I am fairly sure that the day is coming when I fail in my quest. It won’t happen by my decision though. I will keep on trying, hoping to somehow connect with G-d and my mom as I keep the streak alive.
PLEASE donate in my mom’s memory to help children with cancer: