As long as…
A Chanukah lesson from the bowling alley
This past Channuka Friday, I had the privilege of taking my daughter and a friend out to the local bowling alley in, a privilege and pleasure indeed. Not that we’re big bowlers, nor was it a long Erev Shabbos day, but on days when our kids are off from school and yeshivah we like to go the extra mile and give them some ‘extra curriculum fun’ and exercise some bonding.
So we walked in, did some shoe exchanging, got them set up in lane 9. I went back to the front to do some reading, writing, and wrap up some Friday routines. As I’m sitting there, the man running the place, a nice neat, well-mannered 60 plus looking man, asked me: “How’s your holiday going?” “Super,” I replied. “How are you celebrating the holiday,” I ask? “I’m not Jewish”, he responds, “but my good friend is and he just sent me some sick pictures from his trip in Israel.”
Man, I was really jealous,
He pulls out his IPhone and shows me some vividly colorful picture of the food mountains in one of the famous ‘shuk’ settings. A pile of amazing colorful sweet candies, a smorgasbord of yummy Halvah, oh those multi-green pickles and olives, and to top it off, some red hot fresh strawberries OMG, he went crazy just talking about his friend’s trip.
“Where you ever in Israel?” I ask.
“No, I can’t afford it. You think working in a regular 9-5 job is enough to go on lavish trips?” I tell him: “Come on, set aside some money and just do it. The place is awesome. You’ll love it.
He says: “I know it’s the coolest place, but as long as my kids have it better than me, I’m fine, even if I don’t get to do everything I’d really like”, his line really made me think, and let me share my thoughts with you.
The American life style, for most of us, isn’t that easy, calm and relaxing. Most of us have to juggle one or two jobs with 25 assignments daily, plugging debt holes and racing all the time to the next thing to take care of, a real rat race, yet many-most days we don’t even accomplish all our plans and desires, sometimes I’m thinking that our Modeh Ani has an additional meaningful definition: the fact that we went to bed last night knowing that much of our grand plans haven’t happened and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board, and yet we’re waking up again and again with a fresh dose of energy and vigor to re sketch a similar scene, this itself is a good enough reason to thanks Hashem, it’s therefore very important for us, as couples, parents, business people and normal human beings, to take every once in a while a ‘planned’ step back, close our phones for few moments and ask ourselves: what, why, how much longer, and what’s the score?
In other words, we must feel a good purpose in our running, chasing, hyperventilating, have a clue where the finishing line is, and above all, are we getting there?
Stopping every few months and taking a quick inventory of our life, will give us new, much needed, energies and a greater sense of purpose in our busy and hectic lifestyle.
A little story is told, that during his dangerous and miraculous escape, that lasted many months, from the Nazi mean machine, the previous holy Rabbi of Belz, Reb Aron Rokeach z”l, instructed his driver in one of the most intense moments, being few miles away from his German hunters, to stop the car! The driver almost flipped: “ Rabbi what’s wrong? We’re all in grave danger as is and you’re asking me to stop?”
“ Yes,” the holy Rabbi said.
The driver, all frightened, had no choice and did as commended, the Rebbe exited the car, stood up, closed his holy eyes for several minutes, went back into the car and the journey continued, the driver and the additional passengers took the bravery to ask the Rebbe what this risky stop was all about? The Rebbe replied: “We’re running and running and running, we have to stop and think, from where are we running, where are we running to, what’s the purpose of our running, and above all, who is helping us run? We must give our daily, weekly juggles and struggles some meaning so they’ll be somewhat easier and more meaningful.
And if and when we finally mange to actually do it, let’s find some good and encouraging reasons for doing it,
Perhaps the very fact that our ‘hustle and bustle’ is to secure our kids with a better home, a happier life, a better education, a healthier mindset, a calmer upbringing, is a good enough reason (one of many) for us to look back and feel great about our hard work and tremendous investment in life, not that we didn’t have it good when we grew up, but knowing that we try our hardest to make it better for them sure feels great to start another round all over again.
And you better believe I went back on Sunday and brought him a box of mixed fresh doughnuts, his eyes lit up: “You guys are just so nice and smart,” he exclaimed.
I think he was eying the custered first.
Happy winter and Happy Everything!
Aron Blum, is an accomplished certified coach, dedicated to help people build and develop their lives.
He is head of SCC, Success Coaching Center, a prestigious coaching practice, based in Brooklyn NY.