It would have been enough
“After my first year with my boyfriend, I expected a decent birthday gift—maybe a nice dinner or a cute jacket from my favourite store. So when he handed me what felt like a wrapped piece of paper, my heart sank. With fake enthusiasm cued up, I unwrapped a two-pocket folder. Inside were official documents for a star he’d purchased for me—and named Martine.
“That was the name given to my mother in a Quebec orphanage before she was adopted in the U.S. and renamed Judy. It’s also my middle name. My mother died when I was 16, and I’d spent a few embarrassing nights tearfully telling my boyfriend stories about her. Even though a piece of paper can’t bring her back, the night sky has felt different ever since—like she’s up there sparkling in all her eternal glory.”
“Dayenu” is a Jewish Passover song that celebrates God’s gifts to his people. Dayenu means “it would have been enough” and recalls the gifts God gave the Jewish people as he took them out of slavery.
The song covers fifteen gifts that brought the Jews out of slavery and executed justice on the Egyptians. It includes miracles like the dividing of the sea and drowning the Egyptians. And it celebrates God’s gift of the Torah on Mount Sinai and the eventual temple built in the homeland of Israel.
Any one of these gifts would have been enough. Dayenu! How often do we stop to ponder God’s gifts to us?
I would have been happy to have been given a work career that provided a steady income and no lay-offs. I would have been happy to have a beautiful and healthy family that grew up and enjoyed successful education, jobs, marriages and above all health.
All of these I received and much more. Dayenu!
It would have been enough to have been given the gift of Faith from my parents and grandparents. It would have been enough to have been given the gifts of Baptism and Eucharist.
It would have been enough to have been given the Bible, the stories of Passover, the pillar of fire, the dividing of the Red Sea and the Exodus. Then the gifts of manna and water from the rock.
We received all of these and still more. The legacy of Faith carried by our ancestors in Germany, then to Russia for over 100 years would have been enough. With God our Father we get it all.
The sacrifice of Jesus was, again, more than enough. A few drops of blood shed would have been enough. But with Jesus, we got it all. He held nothing back. And all this was out of love for us.
What does your own Dayenu list look like? Think of the blessings you have already received. Think of the blessings you will receive in the future.
“Lord, if you had only forgiven my sin or removed my guilt, it would have been enough. But you have done so much more. All praise to you!” (from The Word Among Us Easter 2017)