Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us

The Guiding Lights of a Positive Life

The Guiding Lights of a Positive Life

 Email

I wandered in the powdery sand to the beat of the soft lullaby the waves sang without any idea where I was going. I came upon a sign on the beach in the form of driftwood with a magic marker message: “Even if you’re lost, you’re here now and that’s good enough!”

Lost . . . I could have been lost, completely lost, with no clue how to get home. “What was home? Where was home?” My spirit could have been destroyed in all the manyI could have been lost, with no clue how to get home moments I wasn’t sure if I would make it, but I kept walking. I didn’t lose my purpose. I kept going.

My life has been marked by transition and uncertainty—unpredictable, frightening moments that catapulted me in the exact direction I was meant to go. I don’t regret any of it because all of the wrong choices led me to the right places, every step of the way. The thousands of experiences I’ve collected and the miles I have traveled might not have been where I initially set out to go, but they were exactly where I needed to be.

The past few weeks seemed to disappear, all stress washed away. I arrived exhausted at my daughter’s condo in Hallandale Beach, Fla., well after midnight last night following a tumultuous flight from New York, yet the allure of sunrise on the beach beckoned. I rose before the crack of dawn, tiptoeing quietly down the hallway and out the door, unprepared for the scene unfolding outside.

I drew in a deep breath of cool, cleansing salty air and walked straight into the ocean, or was it the sky? The colors melted so perfectly that the horizon was undefined. Suddenly, the transition from night to day began; the world between worlds, between light and dark, magical and surreal. Time seemed to stand still. A kaleidoscope of vivid colors streaked the heavens and the surface of the water. The production climaxed when the golden disk of the sun, bit by bit, as if in slow motion, rose over the ocean, turning the crimson clouds into an intense network of fiery orange and yellow strips. The sun rose higher, the brilliant rays shined brightly and began to warm the air, the colors quickly faded, and the show was over.

A new day had come with new possibilities, a fresh page yet to be written.

Joseph evolved to greatness while alone in a foreign land and garnered the necessary strength to remain true to his identity because he saw the image of his father Jacob in his mind. And in accessing his experiences with his father, Joseph saw his roots, his foundation, his own image, his potential. I followed his example and remained connected to my roots by recalling my father’s image. For all our history adds up to who we are—or who, at least, we are always trying our best to be.

Chassidic philosophy teaches that sight validates. “Seeing” allows one to take in the entire picture, even that which is otherwise not obvious. My father’s guidance and teachings are sacred memories—portraits painted on my soul, lifelong companions to sustain me and guide me to new levels of seeing, feeling, perceiving and being.

I thought about the powerful life lessons my father taught me:

About faith: Never waver in your trust in G‑d, especially when things look bleak. It’s the only thing to hold on to.

About respecting people: People’s struggles are real, regardless of how trivial they might seem. Remain empathetic and extend as much grace as possible in respect for their concerns, even when facing grave personal circumstances.

About money: The real measure of wealth is how much one would be worth if all their money was lost. Material possessions are insignificant if internal circumstance are broken. Without purpose, surroundings feel purposeless. With a strong and fulfilling function, humble external circumstances are much more palatable.

The author and her father
The author and her father

About happiness: It’s bad enough when someone or something terrible causes you harm; you do not need to elect to compound it by also being sad about it. Allowing a person or situation to steal your happiness is your choice, albeit a self-defeating one.

About fear: Never allow fear into your life. The worst thing in the world is to be afraid of anything or anyone. Only fear of G‑d is positive. Fear cripples and paralyzes, and any decision made from fear is a wrong one.

About religion: Religion is not a burdensome set of rules to impose on people, butYou stumbled? Accept it! the means to paving a path of proper direction to a joyous, beautiful life. Someone who isn’t happy is not a good advertisement for their religion.

About community service: All that one gains only for himself or herself is of very limited value. In service to others lies the real treasure—a treasure beyond all imagining, a treasure multiplied by the number of lives touched.

I didn’t realize I had walked all the way back to my daughter’s building until I heard my grandchildren screaming from the terrace. “Savti! Where were you? We couldn’t find you anywhere! We thought you were lost!”

As I rushed up the stairs to hug my little loves, I mused . . .

My father taught me about losing direction when life explodes in your face and doesn’t go according to plan, and you get lost. Don’t get so caught up in the disappointment and the self-loathing that you remain stuck in the situation.

You’re here now. So you stumbled? Accept it, reclaim your abandoned self, don’t run from yourself. Remember who you are. Focus on your strengths, not your flaws; use them to move forward and find your purpose again. The tragedy would be to never discover (and rediscover) yourself. You’re here now. That’s all that matters.

Maybe the person who left that sign on the beach knew all this already.

Batya Schochet Lisker is the founding principal of Bais Chana Chabad Girls' High School of Los Angeles, current executive assistant to Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky of Chabad World Headquarters in New York, and program administrator of the Machne Israel Development Fund Early Childhood Initiative.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
4 Comments
1000 characters remaining
izzy Leizerowitz New York April 24, 2017

Excellent article. Very articulate and a guide for all of us to follow. We all become lost at one point and the fact that we really aren't is essential to who we are. Using the guidelines you highlighted, we can reorient ourselves and be back on track. Well done.! Reply

Baruch Robinson Queens April 24, 2017

Wow what an amazing moving story. Thank you so much for sharing it. Reply

Judy Friedman April 24, 2017

I beautiful article. Well said! Reply

Naama West Hempstead April 24, 2017

Beautifully written and the profound thoughts and ideas are sure to touch a nerve with nearly everyone. Reply