Rebuilder Series: You Have Great Connections. By Marshall Lestz
Good Morning Everybody, Shavua tov,
A few days ago when I was on my way out of shul, a friend stopped me and asked if I could help him with something. He said that there was a young visitor in the lobby, and he was sitting with his feet up on the table. My friend asked if I would tell the visitor to take his feet down. He said he’d do it himself, but he was concerned that he might lose his temper and get into an argument. So I went over and talked to the young man and after a short conversation… mission accomplished.
Looking back at what happened, I’m really impressed with my friend. He demonstrated a great deal of self-knowledge and integrity. By knowing himself well enough, he was able to bypass an ugly scene from taking place. And perhaps best of all: he avoided getting angry, but he DIDN’T AVOID correcting the situation! HE DIDN’T WALK AWAY. He could’ve just thrown his hands up and said, “Oh well.” But he didn’t, he came up with a plan B. Which is also impressive because by getting someone else to intervene required him to ADMIT that he couldn’t do it himself. Very inspiring.
Now, here’s the really cool part. Telling strangers to take their feet off the table is NOT in my comfort zone. Being friendly and loving comes way more naturally to me than correcting someone’s behavior. Normally, if I were to see someone with his feet on the table at shul, my normal reaction would be, “Oh man, why’s he sitting like that? Come on…” But it’s highly unlikely that I’d say actually say something to him.
So here we have the most amazing partnership that took place between my friend and I. He needed ME and I needed HIM! I helped him bring his best intentions to fruition, and he helped me bring my best SELF to fruition! And the icing on the cake is that by working together we were able to help the visitor raise the bar on his own behavior too.
This little incident demonstrates how we’re each like different puzzle pieces in one big puzzle. The weaknesses that each of us have fit together and “interlock” with the corresponding strengths of our fellow Jews. Each of us is trying to grow in different ways, but we’re not doing it in a vacuum. Or at least, we don’t have to do it in a vacuum. If we humble ourselves and allow ourselves to feel a little vulnerable, we can lean on each other…. and we should lean on each other. That’s what families are for. That leaning will bring us closer together. And think how much more we’ll be able to accomplish when we’re working together!
May Hashem bless us with the courage to ask for help, the courage to go outside of our comfort zones, and the ensuing joy that will come from not just knowing we’re fulfilling our potential, but that we’re helping the Jewish people fulfill its potential, too.
Have an uplifting day everybody,
Keep on Building!