Oh Where Did The Davening Go?

The title of this entry is a play on the words of a Fall Out Boy song, “oh where did the party go”. It’s a song that would definitely not jive with the facade of my chassidic persona and exterior, yet nonetheless is a favorite of mine from my youth. Music can touch us in such interesting ways, and I have the human elements of having previously experienced that under my belt, but I guess what I am surprised at is how I’m finding myself in a situation where this song is really, really resonating with me as far as my relationship with davening and where it has progressed to…

As a child, davening was one of the few activities where I felt I could express myself freely and speak to God in a way that put structure to the task. To be frank, I loved it. It was easy to be sincere, to focus on words that while I didn’t always know their meaning, could enunciate with a sense of fervor and childish wonder at what my parents and teachers told me and took at face value. It was simple, and as an adult now, I can look back at say that, yet I can’t help but hearken back to that epoch and be touched by how innocent I was, and how essentially, davening has evolved to an activity where I just don’t care enough anymore to invest in. And that saddens me. I am what can be considered on paper to be a frum person, I keep Shabbos and kosher and family purity, but the winds of the world have clearly swept my way enough to have affected me that a song from my youth is now more evocative and meaningful than what I thought was, and still do, deep down, to be the standard of how a chossid is supposed to daven.

These days, I admit, I confess, I bemoan, I do not always daven. Definitely not with a minyan, definitely not with mikvah and chassidus beforehand. Sometimes with tefillin, other days that doesn’t end up happening. And some days I do it, and when I do I feel good about myself, but the general feelings of crap about how inconsistent it has been, coupled with wondering, “when did this stop meaning something to me”, causes me to not revel in the successes of in fact following through with it. I know I am not alone, and for all the people out there who at least are consistent with the minutiae of zmanim and minyanim and for sure tefillin, at least they are going through the motions enough to at least say, hey, I showed up. Can I say the same? Not every day…

I ask myself, day in and day out, oh, where did the party go?

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