Ever had this feeling that you have so much bottled up inside you that it felt like the slightest nudge would definitely cause you to metamorphose into a fully functional but uncontrolled fire hydrant? It has become so lame whenever these words are uttered ‘life is unfair’ that sometimes we fail to acknowledge the wealth of wisdom hidden behind those three words. I certainly know how unfair life can be but I also know that there is a world of difference between the perception of the unfair times and the choices we feel compelled to make during those times.
The last few weeks have been very revealing, for the lack of a more suitable term, and like every moment we experience as we journey through life, it also adds more zing to my individual and very unique story. Who we are at the end of our journey is a thoroughly mixed blend of all the various moments, lessons and experiences we encountered in the course of our lives – that is why we are as diverse as the word means. It is such an awesome but completely humbling experience when we are privileged to catch but a glimpse of life and its mysteries; “ Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning” – Jedidiah. To some of us, that which we so assiduously pursue with every waking breath, is as meaningless as the chaff that is blown off wheat, to another. So the question is if the same fate awaits each and every one of us, how do we apply our waking moments to ensure that we are not just a very vague memory in the lives of those that we were privileged to encounter?
Tomorrow, my best friend celebrates the beginning of another new year and for me, that transitional phase holds so much potential because it is an opportunity to review our past and appropriately align our paths towards where we are headed. I have cause to celebrate too, because just being honored to share in and witness the beginning of another phase of someone very special is also a reminder that I too have had and will also have beginnings and what better privilege it is when we are given a heads start or a leg boost upwards. And whilst I rejoice and celebrate my best friend, I also realize that the choices I make will definitely influence my own beginnings as the different seasons of my own life come up, so that is mixed feelings right there – what do I choose? Dwell on the negatives or bask in the triumphs of the past or take a chestful of invigorating fresh air and gear myself to march onward.
I recall quite vividly one of the lessons I learned as a youngster during our family devotions, it was a story from the pages of ‘Just A Moment Please’ – A.J Maurus. A father saddled with meeting the dictates of his job also had for that day, the responsibility of attending to the unceasing needs of his little son (baby-sitting). Finding his son’s incessant demand for attention a little distracting, he thought of the best way to keep his little son occupied for a long stretch of time so as to enable him focus more on the task at hand. Quickly reaching a supposedly foolproof solution, he took out a page from that morning’s newspaper with the world map boldly captured on the page that his son had been playing with, ripped it into tiny bits and asked the little son to play an impromptu game of puzzle by trying to put the world map together. Excitedly both father and son turned their attention to their individual tasks, the father believing that the puzzle would keep his son preoccupied for the greater part of the time.
In less than an hour, the little boy shrieked out delightedly to his father that he had completed the puzzle. As expected, the father was stunned that his son who could barely understand the word ‘continent’ least of all the study of cartography and geology had completed the puzzle in so short a time. Believing that it was just a characteristic case of short attention span, he walked into the little boy’s room and amazingly beheld the world map correctly put together. Seemingly at a loss for words, he asked his son how he had so quickly figured the puzzle correctly. With a twinkle in his little blue eyes and that look reserved for ‘disappointingly slow’ parents, he walked up to the put-together map and turned it around, behold there was a picture of a man on the reverse side. In his little bubbly voice, he explained “When I put the man together, the world came together!”
Decades have passed and still I recall that simple lesson: when and if we can put the man (ourselves) together, then the world will simultaneously come together. Pretty simple but undeniably very puzzling especially when you take into cognizance the idiosyncrasies and unique but different values that make us who we are. Today, that lesson still rings true and whilst many of us choose to focus on the unfairness of life, the simpler task would be to get our individual acts together and then watch in astonishment as the world or our immediate environment comes together. It is so much easier to hurl blames at other people for our unfair circumstances, but truth be told, while it is so more difficult to set on the single task of putting ourself together, when and if we do, the results would be beyond what we could ever imagine. “The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity” – Douglas Horton
Recalling the discussion I had with one of my business associates, Johann – I was completely blown away when he said that his objective in successfully starting up his Real Estate Investment firm was not to become a millionaire. Modesty in play? Definitely not! Experience has taught me to recognize sincerity when I hear it, besides I also know him a teeny weeny bit. It has become (and always was) a hugely growing norm now for people to leap onto the band wagon of someone else’s opinion, tear it apart, poke holes and do as much destruction as they can think up. Once that urge has been satisfied, a complete turn around is done where that opinion carries the day (success) and when failure results, then a search for the next wagon to jump on begins. It requires less work putting the puzzle together when and only if we realize that we are very much a part of that next person’s story, each of us is the man behind the map of someone else’s life and if we devote just a little portion of our time in putting our lives together as opposed to destroying “another’s life/opinion/stance”, imagine how many puzzles we would have succeeded in completing and how much good work little old you would have done.
I, for one, choose to be different and while my end is yet afar off, I opt to work more on getting my own act together. There is a purpose to every life, discovering it is a good start. Remember, the quality of whatever we aspire for or dream of can only be made manifest in the quality of what we give others. We are, because someone gave and regardless of how despondent the circumstances are demanding of you – you still get to choose. Make it count!
עד שנפגש שוב , אני נפרדתי ממךלשלוםוטוב ביותר שאתה לבד ראוי .