I went out to lunch with a very dear friend the other day, soon after returning from a lecture tour. Though this friend has experienced her fair share of life’s hardships, she is overflowing with simchat hachayim, a special joie de vivre. Sure, she can get down during rough times, but she quickly bounces back to her natural state of optimism.
I was telling her (yet again) how envious I am of her personality.
Half-jokingly she responded, “Well, Chana, if I have such innate joy, why is it that you are the one traveling around lecturing about meaning, purpose and happiness, while I stay behind just practicing it?”
Not missing a beat, I explained to her, “My dear, you just don’t get it. When I get up in front of my audiences to speak about these concepts, I am lecturing to myself. And, believe me, I’m not an easy customer! As I say my shpiel, my cynical self asserts itself and rebuts my entire line of thinking, and I have to come up with a more powerful and convincing argument. On the other hand, being the person you are, overflowing with joy, you have no motivation to look inward and deeper to find a more powerful response.”
While we both laughed, truthfully, my words were said only half in jest.
We all are unique beings. Each of us has strong points and talents that come easily. We also each have our own set of challenges. By working through those very challenges, we hopefully develop into stronger and better people.
So, while we can appreciate and admire the good qualities of those around us, let’s also realize that through the very challenges and limitations that stretch us to the maximum, we find our true sense of self and purpose.
This coming Thursday is the Fast of Esther, with Purim following closely after. This week we take a peek behind the scenes to explore the secret character of our heroine, Esther. In the moment of her greatest pain and sacrifice, Esther found her greatest courage, bringing salvation to her people.
We also take a look at The True Nature of Laughter, and how laughter comes from the realization that in a split second our situation can change entirely.
So, this week, pat yourself on the back for the many challenges in your life that you are successfully dealing with.
Let’s increase our joy, and spread happiness and laughter as we remember that this is a month of miracles. And let’s pray for the ultimate miracle, when the very source of our sorrows will be transformed into our greatest joys.