Rebuilding Series: What Are The Chances? By Marshall Lestz
Good Morning Everybody,
As I was racing out the door to shul this past Friday night for Shabbos, I grabbed a plastic grocery bag to throw a bunch of scrunched up reflector vests and reflector belts into it. But the bag I grabbed just happened to be perfectly HALF inside-out, and no matter how many times I tried to shake it open, nothing happened. Yes, I should’ve put the reflectors down so I could use both hands, but I was being even more stubborn than the bag. So I’m battling this chutzpadik bag and I say to myself, “What are the chances of this happening?!”
And then, surprisingly, a voice popped in my head and answered…
And I was like, “Yeah, that’s exactly right.” There’s a 100% chance that this is happening. It doesn’t matter how UNLIKELY it is that it’s happening. The undeniable fact is that IT ISHAPPENING. It’s 100% happening!
How much of the frustration, anger and discontent that we experience in life is because we refuse to accept the way things are going? Events and people don’t meet our expectations and instead of accepting that that is reality, we cleave to an alternate reality– OUR version of reality–the way things “SHOULD” be going. We often live in a “SHOULD BE” or “SHOULDN’T BE” make believe world.“ The plastic grocery bag should be open. It shouldn’t be stuck like that. The green light SHOULD last long enough to let more than 3 cars go through. The store SHOULD have more than 4 checkout lanes open right now…”
All that may be true, but the longer we dwell on the way WE think events or people “SHOULD BE,” the greater misery we create for ourselves. Fixating on a reality that doesn’t exist, doesn’t bring it into being. Believing that a person shouldn’t have a certain annoying habit doesn’t magically make it disappear. Or believing that the plumber should be on time doesn’t make him suddenly knock on your door. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) Now just to be clear, we’re not talking about approving of other people’s behavior when it’s truly problematic. We’re just talking about accepting that such behavior exists, and not getting stuck thinking that it shouldn’t exist.
So what if we took the energy that we’re using to imagine how things “SHOULD” be, and channeled it into accepting the way things actually are? The quicker we can redirect and accept the “real” reality, the more quickly we’ll re-establish our equilibrium. And when we’re thinking more calmly, not only will we respond much more productively and positively, it will also enable us to bring Hashem into the equation. If G-d orchestrates everything for our ultimate good, then this unpleasant thing that’s happening is 100% supposed to be happening! That plastic bag that wouldn’t open wasn’t sent into my life to simply irritate me, but to elevate me!… To help me become more patient, calm, accepting and to gain greater self-mastery….
The next time you have a “What are the chances that this is happening” kind of moment, try answering “100%,” and see how it changes how you feel and act.
G-d willing, doing this will snap us back into reality, and into a frame of mind that helps us truly grow from the experience.
Have a wonderfully realistic day everybody,
Keep on Building!