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It's In Your Hands

It's In Your Hands

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It was a professional party organizer's nightmare. Except that I am not a professional party planner, and this wasn't a party. But a nightmare it most definitely was.

The event was scheduled for a Monday evening, and was one of our Institute's main annual programs. It would be a catered affair that had been planned months ahead and would launch our new winter semester of educational programs and courses. Hundreds of people were expected to attend this affair, which was slated to have a special guest speaker from abroad and musical interlude for entertainment.

Thursday afternoon, just four days before the event, I was checking off my mental to-do list to ascertain that no detail had been neglected. Centerpieces, color-coordinated table wear, tall elegant candles and matching candlesticks had all been arranged. I heaved a sigh of relief as I gave myself a mental pat on the back that everything was so well under control.

But moments later, I lifted the phone receiver to hear the dismaying news. "I'm very sorry, Mrs. Weisberg. I am not quite sure how it happened," the officious, nasal voice began, "but apparently we've double booked our hall for Monday night. I hate to do this to you, but I'm afraid you'll have to find another venue."

I tried summoning all my persuasive powers to convince the woman on the other end of the phone line that this was simply not possible. She, not I, would have to find another location for that other event, and our program would go on as planned. I begged; I pleaded; I threatened. I spoke diplomatically and patiently and I shouted loudly and angrily. I demanded to speak to this woman's superior and I contacted influential board members. Finally, late Friday morning I realized that my efforts were futile and my time would be better spent scrambling for an alternative.

Fortunately, a short while later, I was able to find another hall to book, quite some distance away. Now, I had to tackle the major problem of informing everyone of the change of location. Needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves as I attacked the phones in the effort to contact as many prospective participants as possible and avoid an utter disaster for the coming Monday night.

Amidst all this, my four-year-old arrived home from school. His mother's frantic demeanor did not faze him. He ran straight to me, clenching something in his hand, and burst into tears. Thrusting the small object at me, his face fell as he tearfully said, "Look!" He handed me a colorful arts and crafts paper from school. "I made this especially for you. But now it tore!"

I looked at his pitiful expression and tried to console him, telling him that I really liked it just the way it was. He wouldn't hear of it. "No!" he whimpered. "It is ripped and now it is completely ruined."

I hugged him tightly until I felt him begin to relax in my arms, confident that I would find some magical solution for him. I ventured, "Honey, don't worry. It's not ruined. I'll get the tape and we'll fix it all up just like new."

His eyes widened and he smiled. I got the glue and tape and we fixed up his creation to look even better than before.

It took all of about six minutes from the moment his tearful face walked through the front door until a radiant smile broke across his features and he ran happily along to his other waiting toys.

But somehow, as I returned to my harried task, those six minutes refreshed my perspective for my own dilemma.

Dialing the numbers on the phone pad, I reflected how often we try to make something special — a beautiful craft of our own making, just for You, G‑d. It may be having extra guests over for a special Shabbat or Yom Tov dinner, arranging a visitation to the hospital or homebound, an educational awareness program like I was now organizing — or any other "project" that we undertake to try to make the world just a little bit of a nicer place.

Sometimes, we work on these projects, crafting them with care, doing our utmost to get all the details just right. And then, along the way something happens and there is a tear in our fabric, a glitch in our efforts, a problem that seems insurmountable. That You may be happy with our efforts just as they are is no consolation: we wanted to create something beautiful, something almost perfect.

I learned two things from that little encounter with my son. First, I discovered the benefit of letting go with a good cry on Your shoulder and the comforting assurance that You are there with magical solutions to all my dilemmas.

I also learned not to get so carried away with my preparations that I forget the point of the project and the recipient of the gift.

Was this about my project, or Your present? Was I worried that my project, which I had worked on for months would not be the success that I envisioned, or was it about presenting You with the best gift I could craft?

After all, if it was for You, You are a partner in its creation and equally responsible for its success. So, if I've done my part, yet circumstances beyond my control have interfered, I can let go and invite Your magical assistance to fix up the tears and glitches.

So, yes, I continued frantically dialing that Friday afternoon; but now with a new awareness. Now, I could let go. My anger and frustration dissipated as I felt Your comforting arms around me.

Of course, this minor tale, which at the time seemed quite major, wouldn't be complete — just like my son's craft — without a happy ending.

The event did take place that Monday evening. It was the coldest day of our winter yet. But the new hall was lavish and far more luxurious than the original one. It was warmed by the hundreds of warm hearts in the full capacity crowd that attended, probably, in great part, due to the many calls and reminders. The music was elegant and inviting, the food was delicious, and the guest speaker was enchanting, leaving the audience inspired to make You a greater part of their lives.

In short, the program progressed smoothly without another single glitch and all those who were present remarked how this evening felt, well, almost magical.

The following day, after the tension lifted, as I was describing the event to my husband, my son climbed upon my lap, touched my lips and said, "I like it so much when you smile, Mommy."

"And I, too, like it when you smile." I replied.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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