Ever had a really hard day?

Like the days that leave you plopping into bed at night feeling sad/uninspired/frustrated by the day’s events, feeling guilty for some moments that were, well, suffice it to say not your proudest moments in life.

Raise your hand if you can relate.

Too bad you can’t see me because I’mI’m raising both my hands raising both my hands. And if I had a third hand, it would be raised, too.

We all have those days.

After one such day not too long ago, I was saying the Shema, as I do every night before retiring to bed. It is also a time for personal self-reflection. A time to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of one’s day, of both the good and the not-so-good, resolving to improve and grow in the days that lie ahead.

And then it hit me, simple yet profound: How fortunate we are that G‑d, in his abounding kindness, wove the institution of nightly sleep into the fabric of our daily lives. You see, G‑d could have just as easily created us with consistently charged batteries (the kind of batteries my kids wish their toys had, because it usually takes their mother a week to get around to changing them each time the batteries die.). But He created us with the need to recharge our batteries each night, and with that comes the ability to hit the refresh button every single day.

The gift of renewal.

The gift of new beginnings.

Each and every day.

A time to pause, reflect on the day’s events, take stock of which areas in your life need improvement and growth, and then take those lessons with you as you enter into a peaceful sleep. The sediment of the unpleasant and difficult is left to settle behind you in the day that has now ended. A fresh start. New opportunity. The challenges, mistakes and mess-ups do not define you. Their sting is now of the day that has passed; only the light of the lessons they contain follow you into sleep and the day that lies ahead.

A dimension of the soul rises above to be with G‑d as we sleep below. Hence, the Modeh Ani prayer in which weThe mistakes do not define you express our gratitude to G‑d for restoring this dimension of our soul to us anew each morning. It basks in the holy spiritual light above and then descends back to our bodies, recharged, refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose to fulfill its G‑dly mission here on Earth through Torah study and mitzvot.

I like to keep a Post-It note near my bed with a list of some of the areas in which I am currently working to improve and grow. (I love lists and visual aids!) I try to use these quiet moments at the end of each day to reflect on where I stand in each of these areas and how I’d like to take the next baby step towards growth in the day ahead.

I feel uplifted and immensely grateful as this thought percolates within my mind and heart. The Grand Master and Creator of our world designed our lives—if we are aware and in tune to its message—in a way that allows us to rise above guilt, sadness and frustration, so that we would not wallow in these emotions for too long. Nightfall beckons us to enter the cocoon of sleep, committed to emerging the bright and beautiful butterfly that we are at our core. Ready to soar and fly and greet tomorrow.