“If He had fed us the manna
and had not given us the Shabbat
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed!”
— The Dayenu, verse 11
With apologies to any of the Jewish faith who may stumble upon my blog, this song has been on my heart lately. I hope I did not misquote or inadequately cite the source of this verse. I had the privilege of participating in a Passover Seder several years ago, and it may perhaps be my current re-reading of the Psalms that brought this beautiful song to mind.
I have been meditating on sufficiency and contentment and how they twine together. Throughout the Psalms, over and over, the writers remind us of all that God has done–His creative works, His acts of righteous vengeance, His steadfast adherence to his covenants. The Dayenu is a song that reminds those participating in the Passover Seder that even if God had only done one thing, it would have been enough, but then He did more. With each verse, the leader adds one new wonder, and the audience responds by saying, “Dayenu, it would have sufficed!”
I wonder–do we live this way? Do I live this way–in constant gratitude and awe of what the Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, has done for me?
I think it is fair to say that I tend toward a morose spirit. I tell my optimistic husband Mr. P that as a pessimist, I’m never disappointed, because I always assume things can be worse. It’s not revealing too much to tell you that I was in a creative field before I left my career. I think creatives, by nature, tend to be a little morose, or perhaps they just come by it more often than the general population. But whatever the cause, I tend to be the sort of person who is prone to dwell on the things that are insufficient rather than being content with the sufficiency of my life. And even beyond that, I forget to recognize that God is the source of sufficiency.
What would it look like if I recognized God as the source of all good in my life? What if I lived my life in constant awe of all I’ve been given? How might that make me more content?
If You had only created this beautiful world and not given me eyes to see the mountains and ears to hear the birds and a mouth to sing Your praise, it would have sufficed.
If You had only allowed me to fully experience your creation through my senses and not given me people to share it with, it would have sufficed.
If You had given me a husband and no children, it would have sufficed.
If You had given me a husband and children and friends, but not drawn me to You, it would have sufficed.
If You had drawn me to You and given me salvation, but demanded every other blessing back, it would have sufficed.
Though I am hard-hearted, evil, full of lust and pride, You gave me your Son, and through Him, life eternal.
Dayenu, Father. It is more than sufficient.