22 Iyar 5779 / Monday, May 27, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bamidbar
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Good to Great    

Good to Great

Sometimes, we don't see the slightest hope of a solution to our weighty problems - like a boulder, nothing budges. But the prayers accumulate, and suddenly, things move...


I just bought myself a calendar for the new year that has the same catch-phrase printed on every page: 'Today is a good day'. The fact that I actually bought something so optimistic is actually a very positive sign. It means that finally, I'm getting out the prison I've been in recent months, when I crashed my car, and then had one massive test after another.
Not that things have visibly got any easier, because on the outside, they haven't. Quite the opposite. But you know what? I realized I've hit this point where I just have to let go of everything, all my heartache, all my lacks, all my problems, all my disappointments, and just live in the moment.
The turning point came on Shabbat, when yet again I spent a lot of the day in tears. I've been in the habit of doing a lot of personal prayer on Shabbat since I moved to Jerusalem, partially because every hour on Shabbat counts for 3,500 hours (which means that if you do six hours, it counts for, like, 21,000 hours, and I really need every minute.); and partially, because I have no friends, so what else am I going to do on a long, lonely Summer Shabbat?
As usual, I woke up on Shabbat morning feeling quite melancholy, and weighed down with all my troubles, and I ran off to the tomb of King David to pray. But I just couldn't sit still there this week, so then I ran off to the Kotel, which is where I had a dawning realization that things couldn't continue like this for much longer.
If you've ever had to deal with serious, chronic problems, and prolonged bouts of heartache and despair where it feels like the clouds are never going to part, you'll know that you get to a stage where you just can't be like that any more.
Yes, it's still terrible, and black, and bleak and horrible, but you just can't be like that any more. If the situation doesn't change, then something else has to give. The 'something' was my logical thought process.
Logically, my husband and I are financially stuffed. We sunk a whole bunch of our house money into a business in the Old City that opened when tourism is down 95% because of this Summer's war. We need a miracle to make a go of it.
Logically, I can't see how I'm ever going to find, make or acquire a community where I can just be me, and not put too many people's noses out of joint. Logically, I can't see how I'm going to find people who really want what I have to offer, because I just can't play the game like I'm meant to, and I have no idea how to change that (or whether I really want to change that).
I can't see how I'm ever going to buy a house, or a new car.
All these things, and tons more, have been weighing me down for months. But not any more. After my praying session on Shabbat, I still felt pretty bad, and I spent most of the night having another pity party and crying my eyes out.
But Sunday, I woke up changed. Sunday, I woke up deciding that whatever mess my life is in at the moment, I can still choose whether to wallow in sadness, or to put a smile on my face. And I'm opting for the latter.
What's more, I realized that I have no idea what's really going on under the surface with all the things that currently look so bad. I read this eye-opening (secular) book many years ago called 'Good to Great' which explained how great businesses get built and sustained very slowly, over time.
The book described the wonderful analogy of the force required to get a huge boulder to move. Initially, people strain and push with all their might, and nothing moves. They continue to push, and to pull and to strain - and it moves a tiny bit. They continue heaving away - and suddenly, the boulder breaks free of its constraints, and starts gathering steam.
At that stage, the same force that kept the boulder in place now works in your favour: you can't stop that sucker from moving at a lightning speed, and now all that's required to keep it going is the odd tap.
Around the corners, I think just maybe, my own personal boulders are beginning to move. A millimeter, maybe. Maybe even less. But I have a feeling that the force of all my prayers, all my teshuva, all my striving to be good and to do good, and to have good are slowly building up into an irresistible force. And very soon, my days aren't just going to be 'good'; G-d willing, they're going to be great.
* * *
You're welcome to visit Rivka Levy's personal website at http://www.emunaroma.com

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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Great article, very helpful
Uche11/13/2014 9:55:12 PM

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