Monday, January 30, 2012

Maybe, Redux

After this recent post, I received a number of comments and emails, including from some family members, which were all quite nice and appreciated. They also led me to believe that my point in the post had been misunderstood, but that is all right - sometimes misunderstandings help remind us of so much.

In a surprisingly common occurrence, one family member e-mailed with something that I once said to them:
"...Remember years ago when you spoke about Hashem testing those He loves, and you said something to the effect of 'Well, He must not love me very much...'..."
Heh. The thought that came to mind shortly after reading this was "...squeezing a bit too hard with this hug, God!" Kidding aside, it is an important idea to remember - when life is easy, we tend not to appreciate it enough; and when it's too hard, we "appreciate" it too much. 

My point in the previous post was never to compare to others, but to what might have been for ourselves under difference circumstances (with various portions of others' lives serving as reminders of what we did not have - regardless of what we may have had that they did not). While a pointless exercise from a life standpoint, as one can never re-live their lives differently, and attempts to recapture 'missing' portions of life is futility, it does have its positives as well. Looking back can help remind someone of ideals and pursuits they feel to be important that perhaps they've lost sight of, and it often helps one appreciate just how much they have learned and grown from their own experiences, however difficult. 

Do I wish certain portions of our lives had played out far differently? Certainly. Would I trade what actually happened for a different life? Certainly not.

The story in the prior post truly says it best: 
Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away, and all the neighbors came around to commiserate that evening. "So sorry to hear your horse ran away. This is most unfortunate." The farmer said, "Maybe." The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and everybody came back in the evening and said "Oh, isn't that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!" And he said "Maybe." The next day his son tried to break one of these horses and ride it but he was thrown, and broke his leg, and they all said, "Oh dear, that's too bad," and he said, "Maybe." The following day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the people came around and said, "Isn't that great!" And he said, "Maybe."
Right now, I can also see how we could look at it all and say "Wow, that's terrible" - and that would be true. I can also see how in a few years, I'll look back at the previous years and see how without it all, we wouldn't be where we are, and how lucky we are that it happened as it all did, and how we could all remark "Isn't it great?!" - and that, too, is true.

We need the rough times to appreciate the good ones; and we need the good ones to survive the rough ones. This does not mean that we cannot or should not lament the rough nor enjoy the good. Instead, we should lament, yet learn; rejoice, and appreciate.