22 Sivan 5779 / Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | Torah Reading: Korach
 
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Magnificent Moment    

Magnificent Moment



The truth is much of the time I don’t want to be in the present moment. I’m much more comfortable floating backwards in my mind, then zooming forward again…

 



Present Moment: Hi! It’s me. What cha doin? 
Me: Oh hey. Sorry I’ve been ignoring you a little. I’m not sure how I am. I’ve been so busy lately.
Present Moment: Ignoring me a little?  A little?
Me: Don’t be mad.  You know how much I love Possible Future.  You’re great too, don’t get me wrong. 
PM: I’m great too. Sure. That’s why you ignore me, because I’m great. You don’t even know how you are because you’ve been spending so much time with....him. 
Me: OK, point taken. 
PM: No, I’m not done yet.  Let me tell you something about the Possible Future.  He’s a liar.  He has no idea what will happen to you. Only Hashem knows what will happen to you. How much Torah do you need to study before you will actually internalize this concept? 
Me: Aww come on, don’t be mad.  I love you baby.
PM: Now you’re sounding like Barry White. 
Me: That hurt.
PM: Not as much as that Matchbox car you’re about to step on.  Just listen for a minute.  What does Possible Future have that I don’t?
Me: Well, in the Possible Future I’m thinner for one thing. 
PM: In the present you have a gym membership. That you won’t use because...
Me: Because I just know it won’t be fun. 
PM: You know.  Are you listening to yourself?  What did Rabbi Feldman say about that? 
Me: That we really know nothing compared to Hashem?  In fact Hashem is knowledge.  That was a great class, remember the part when... 
PM: Stop.  Now you’re going backwards.  Just be here now.  Much of the time you spend with Possible Future isn’t so good.  Let’s be real.
Me: Have you been spying on me? 
PM: No stupid.  You can’t escape me.  I’m always here.  That’s kind of my point.  In fact Possible Future has another name.  It’s called...
Me: Worrying.
PM: Correct.  And you don’t need to worry because...
Me: Because Hashem is merciful and has filled this moment with so much beauty that if I actually lived in the moment, here with you, I would be so overwhelmed by the greatness of it all I’d break into song and cry tears of joy?
Present Moment: Yes!  Now keep going.
 
The truth is much of the time I don’t want to be in the present moment.  I’m much more comfortable floating backwards in my mind, then zooming forward again right past the present moment.  I don’t want to be in this moment because I’m incapable of reconciling a lot of things.  Example, a lovely and elegant woman with whom I am acquainted just lost her son in a tragic way.  She will, no matter what, blame herself for this.  I know because I have been blessed with a little baby boy.  If the cat swats him, I blame myself.  This woman won’t get to see her son again- nor will his wife and children- which is a pain like no other, and I have this giant urge to make it better without having any idea how I possibly can. 
 
Another example, my friend’s husband just lost his new job.  A firm hired him and did away with the position just a few weeks later.  Their hopes have been temporarily dashed and they have two little ones at home.  My friend doesn’t want to come out of her house or talk on the phone.  I want to make it better.  Have no idea how.  If I say, “This too is for the good” she might slap me and I can’t say I’d blame her. 
 
If I focus on my present, this moment, it’s so great.  Great is a lame word.  It’s really a fantasy come to fruition, but better than I could have made up.  I have a straw-haired boy who is a miracle.  He learns words every day, calls me ‘Mommy-Honey’ and loves my French toast.  I have a husband who is a handsome, smart, unique, witty, wonderful friend.  I have a house with a pretty front porch and a flowering magnolia despite the fact that it’s the beginning of March.  And the thought of digging in the yard with my toddler and planting some gladiola bulbs and cucumbers with him makes me so giddy I almost want to wake him from his nap.  A dream come-true.  Yet I think of my friends and I ache.  If I were to really live here, now, I would be simultaneously crying tears of joy and sadness. 
 
All of these states and feelings coexist.  I smile because my son is so funny.  I cry because this woman I barely know has just had her heart ripped out.  I breathe a heavy sigh because I want my friends to be comfortable, secure.  And I have no idea how to make them feel better because I have no idea how I have ended up in this moment and feel like I should.  I should know. 
 
Sometimes I think we avoid the present not because it’s so bad, but because we have this impulse to be able to understand everything there is to understand.  We are enlightened, right?  We have mapped the DNA chain.  One hundred years ago we couldn’t knock someone out before operating on them and now we can take an organ from one body and put it in another.  We are swimming in an ocean of knowledge, yet if we plant ourselves in the present, tune in every sense, let every emotion percolate to the surface, we see that we can’t explain anything.  We can barely take it in and want to close our eyes like an overwhelmed new born.
 
There’s a song, a nigun, called ‘Adir Ayom’ that is so lovely.  I don’t even know what the words really mean, but the tune is like a lullaby, a cradle song.  The author of that song captured the bitter sweet joy of being here now and when you hum along, or close your eyes and listen, you are rooted to this place in all the pain and sweetness.  I can see why people sit together and hum and sing these songs.  When you do, it’s impossible to be anywhere else.  And it feels nice to be alive.
 




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