In his book Bringing Heaven Down To Earth II: More Meditations On The Wisdom Of The Rebbe Rabbi M. M. Schneerson, Tzvi Freeman opens with this notion:
This seems to describe so many aspects of my life. As a creative type, I am caught between gigs, struggling to maintain consistency and moving from job to job.
The technology of our times is both a blessing and a curse, wedging us between no information, and way too much information. The reality of the web, and instantaneous news and facts, versus lies and deceit. The internet reveals so much, and yet it allows people to hide and behave in horrible ways, covered up by code and keyboard, and virtual anonymity.
As Tzvi and the Rabbi understood, technology gives us amazing wisdom… but I ask, at what cost?
I also dwell in two worlds as Jew… that of the secular American Jew (the world for me as it is now) and the notion of truly becoming a Jewish American, tied more closely to faith and observance (the world as it is meant to be.)
When I came back from Israel in 2014, I declared myself a Jewish American, realizing that my Judaism and relationship with Hashem were the cores of my being. And while I seem to be taking the long/short route, I struggle and get frustrated and confused.
However, I also take solace in the fact that we as a nation wrestle and struggle. It is, in fact, what named us and what defines us. After all, Jacob became Israel after wrestling with the angel.
As difficult as it can be to be neither here nor there, I am comforted in some very Jewish notions.
First, we are where we are… and where we are is holy. We MUST understand that each and every moment, even ones of struggle, have the opportunity to be holy… to offer great and valuable lessons and to not only move us forward, but spring us forward.
This seems to be a lesson I learn over and over, and yet I slip back into old patterns too often. Driving in the rain today brought stress and tension and anger… whereas it should have brought calm and acceptance. We have no control over most things in life, other than how we react to them.
Second, we are all on our OWN journey. My path is different from yours, and on and on. My path is between me and Hashem, and I will stumble, fall, learn, grow and keep moving forward.
The key is mindfulness… being fully aware of the present moment… of our lives and world as they are now… fully embracing that present space, even when it is not pleasant. Connecting with Hashem, even when it is not easy… even when life throws curve balls and crazy weather.
Yes, we will make mistakes. Look at them, study them and learn from them. Do not beat yourself up too much. But grow and mature and evolve.
It is not about planning our future so much, as it is preparing for it. What lies ahead, only Hashem knows. And while we need to be ready, we cannot be sure of exactly how things will go down.
If we fully embrace the world as it is, but fight like hell to make it the world we want it to be… the world that it is meant to be (as defined by Hashem, the blueprint that we call the Torah, and all that we learn along the way) we will always be present, always be alive and always be holy.