In the end, it all worked out. But not because of me.

A few months ago I needed to travel to Montreal. Problem was that my passport had expired. Bigger problem was that I realized my passport was expired the day before I needed to be there.

To make a long story short, after some serious panicking, crying and calling every government agency I could reach both here and in Canada, the harsh conclusion was simply that no way was I was making my flight. I had exhausted every possibility, and nothing could be done to expedite my passport renewal for the next morning.

Now to be perfectly honest, if the tables had been turned and this happened to my husband, I would not have been terribly supportive. Hate to admit it, but truth be told, I would have rolled my eyes while commenting how irresponsible it was not to have checked earlier. Yeah, I’m real good like that. While I try to work on it, I have a habit of stating the obvious when someone is already down, and often fail to help bring that person back up.

Fortunately, I married someone very different from myselfFortunately, I married someone very different from myself.

Not once did my husband remark that what I did was irresponsible. Not once did he mention that he had reminded me not that long before that I needed to renew my passport. Not once did he act annoyed that my mistake could have cost us income we were counting on, not to mention that I could have created huge problems for the host of my speaking engagement. Not once.

Rather, my husband stopped his own work and tried to see if there were any options. He tried calling the bus companies, the trains, everything. And then, as if it was a no-big-deal offer, he interrupted by tears and said, “It’s okay, I will drive you to Montreal.”

Back up.

We live in Philadelphia. That would be nine hours away from Montreal. It was Thursday evening at 7 PM. That meant leaving that night, driving all night, through the night, with no guarantee that the border would allow me to cross with an expired passport. But he offered.

More so, he had a backup plan. If I couldn’t get into Montreal, he would drive me to Brattleboro, Vt., where I could spend Shabbat; and he would continue to Montreal, where he would teach at the Shabbaton for me.

And he meant it.

So, at about 1 AM on Friday morning, we began the drive. Our very wonderful friends had offered (not that we left them with much choice) to host our kids while we were gone. The plan was to drive all night, arrive Friday afternoon, and then turn around and do the same thing in return on Saturday night.

And so we did.

My knee-jerk reaction to stress is to create more stressAfter nine hours we made it to the Canadian border, where I was—very fortunately—allowed into Canada despite my expired passport. I was able to teach, and managed to incorporate into my teachings my incredible gratitude to both my husband and to Menachem Posner, my fellow editor here at who was running the Shabbaton and who remained calm despite the incredible stress I created last-minute. And when the Shabbaton was over, we began the journey back, holding our breath that the U.S. border would allow me to reenter.

Now, why am I telling you this whole story? Is it because I want you to recognize that my husband deserves the “Husband of the Year” award? True, he does. But there is more. This situation completely shifted the way I view myself and challenging situations, and how often I overlook the inherent goodness and kindness in those around me, even those closest to me.

As I wrote before, had the situation been reversed, I would have been too busy complaining and criticizing to have tried solving the problem. And I am not just saying that to put myself down. Really, I would have done that. I would have done it because my knee-jerk reaction to stress is to create more stress. But by being solution-oriented, a solution was created. I say “created” and not “found,” because the solution wasn’t an option until he made it one. It was not like anyone would have said, “Well, why doesn’t your husband just drive you for 18 hours?” It was something only he could have offered.

Why did he come up with a solution? Because he lives the concept of tracht gut vet zein gut, “Think good and it will be good.” When you are focused on the positive, on ensuring that things work out well, you are much more likely to come up with a way of making them work out well. Menachem took this approach as well. He had advertised a speaker. He had 100 people coming to a catered dinner. There were ads plastered all over the city of Montreal. And his speaker was in Philadelphia, not able to make her flight, and not sure if or how she could come. But he didn’t panic.

I spoke to Menachem probably every hour from the time I discovered my mistake until we made it to Montreal. He remained steadfast in his calmness. He knew that his stress couldn’t change the situation, except for the worse. And he ultimately believed somehow that it would all work out right—it would all work out exactly the way it should.

For those who hadn’t spoken to me from Thursday afternoon until Sunday, all they knew was that I was supposed to go to Montreal, spend Shabbat there and teach, and return on Sunday. And that is exactly what happened. They had no idea, however, what it took to make that happen.

The journey is as important, if not more so, than the destinationOften we wonder: if we end up in the same place, does it really matter how we get there? Boy oh boy, did I discover that it does. The journey is as important, if not more so, than the destination. For how we get there, the attitude, the choices, the roads we take and the ones we leave behind, are ultimately what help define who we are and who we will become.

My expired passport ended up being a beautiful blessing. It showed me how I can improve in how I respond to my situations, and more so, to the situations of others when they do something irresponsible. It showed me how fortunate I am to work with someone who can remain calm and focused and not feel the need to reprimand, even though he easily had the right to. And most importantly, it gave me one more opportunity to see how blessed I am to have a partner in life who is a true partner. One who supports me, believes in me, and in doing so allows the good that he is thinking to become our reality.