Modeh Ani Lefanai

There’s a smile on my face every step of my day
Joie de vivre because you’re here every step of the way

I feel pain, I feel joy, I feel sadness so deep
I laugh and I cry, and I smile and I weep

I know that you’re with me, you carry me through
My success and my triumph is all due to you

I strive and I struggle, and I make it through
I take pride in my failures, my accomplishments too

Those nonbelievers, what pain they endure
Those nonbelievers, a life insecure

I believe in myself when my luck seems to soar
I have faith in myself through life’s constant war

I give thanks to you and then I can hold on
I know because you’re here I can go on

I know when I’m desperate, I can hold on
I know that I’m strong enough – I can go on

I often listen to frum and chasidish music on YouTube. It took me a while to be able to enjoy the music without feeling all sorts of angry and sad. But now I’m okay with liking the music and the good feelings I get even when I vehemently disagree with the words and the messages.

I found the video below recently, and had many thoughts about it. The one that stuck with me for a while is how beatific his smile looks throughout, how little room there is for pride in oneself when one is required to be thanking god for every breath, every moment of every day. And how little room there is for real emotion, real joy and real sadness and real pain, when everything must revert to a reflection about god’s role in things. How little room there is to be rightfully proud of one’s own accomplishments and abilities when everything must be attributed to god.

So as I do when a thought keeps reverberating in my brain for a while – I wrote a poem.

Note: You can read the stanzas in the order they appear, or you can read all the non-italicized stanzas as one section and then all the italicized stanzas as another section.

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