Last night as I was coming home from a hard day at work, I received a call from my husband.
“I just wanted to tell you that the Internet and phones are down.” Again, just like a week or so ago, my whole Yishuv, the whole area about us, is incommunicado…well except for cell phones. Just when I was looking forward to some downtime and to catching up with friends. No computer. Great.
Went to bed last night, woke up this morning and still no connection.
It should be illegal. By what right am I to be inconvenienced?
This isn’t my only woe. My husband is basically out of a job, and, believe you me, we need the money…not for luxuries, but to just pay the basic bills. And to get a job he needs the Internet!
At this point we can’t really even afford to buy stamps so I have a lot of penfriends who I hope will remain my friends, after not receiving any mail from me for months on end. We don’t even have all the books we will need to get through this school year.
There are some health things going on, but I think I have them basically taken care, but they are still annoying. The heat is making it hard for me, and I’m often short of breath. Neither I nor my husband is sleeping well. My husband is going to have eye surgery and I will need to be losing work to help him. A few of my kids have health issues that need to be dealt with.
I made a mistake at work that, while I believe I corrected, still cost me lots of anguish.
Can I go on and on and on about this? Can you?
You probably can. Almost everyone has a string of good and bad events in their lives that occur and disrupt their day. Few of us don’t have a “something” going on, that gives us humps and hurdles and even mountains that seemingly impede the road before us.
The road we think we are on, or believe we deserve to be on and the road we are actually on are two different things. We want to just sail through, straight and unhurried, on a smooth and beautifully arranged path. Only for the very few is that the road we will receive. Most of us must make our own paths, using our “moral compass” as a guide.
For me, the Torah is the compass. It tells me the basic direction I should go in, where I must go and where I should not go. But I must make my own path through life; I can’t demand of G-d that He paves the road so my travel is easy.
When faced with a patch of road that is impeding my progress I have two tasks. The first is simply practical. “What do I need to do now?” See a doctor, ask for a loan, find a second job, or sell something I possess, learn a different skill etc. etc.
Simultaneously I need to ask G-d “Why me? But not “Why me I don’t deserve this” but “What is it that You wish me to learn? Am I doing something I should not be doing? Have I strayed from where you wish me to be? Have I gone into areas that were not meant for me? Or is there something good for me along this path; that however painful it seems at the moment it is like the pain of childbirth, or the pain of pushing that extra few steps during a run?”
There is a beauty in such pain that those who haven’t felt such pain do not understand. It is power, the power of ones self to move beyond what one thought one could do.
There is a reason that the path isn’t smooth in front of me at the moment. I need to try and smooth it the best I can. This is one job. The other is to discover why it is rough here and why now and what it is G-d wants me to see. Perhaps there is something of great beauty just beyond that I wouldn’t see if the path were clear and easy. Perhaps there is someone just ahead who has a gift for me, or I a gift for them. Work to make it smooth, but trust that this is what is right for me, for whatever reason.
I am here now, and it is for the good.