The elevator door opened and I wheeled my double stroller inside, steering it to the far left to be space efficient. My husband followed after me with our luggage. The sun had long set and had taken with it Rosh Hashanah 5770 (2009). With the holiday over, I packed up for myself and my children and urged my husband to hurry and pack his end. It was late and the kids needed to get to bed.

The elevator was crowded and I scanned the others who shared the space with us. A middle-aged man smiled gregariously at my husband. Then, in a thick southern drawl he complemented him on his black felt fedora hat. He seemed quite taken with it, and spoke in a loud and enthusiastic way about its great "style." Then the door opened at the main level and I pushed my way out.

Our children are miraculous, but how could he have known?"Oh, I must have a picture of your hat," the man with the accent said, "Let me pull out my camera."

I smiled weakly, anxious to get home but amused by this man's fascination with a hat. He backed up a few feet and snapped some photos of my husband. Okay, I thought, now let's go. But then he pulled my husband close and began to whisper something in his ear. I watched them curiously; the gentleman speaking in a hushed and rapid manner and my husband nodding the whole time. And then he slipped back into the elevator and left.

"What was he telling you?" I asked my husband as soon as he caught up to me. "Oh, he was just telling me that my children are a miracle and that all we need to do is look at my children to know that G‑d exists.

"What? What made him say that?" I asked.

"G‑d wanted us to hear that," he said calmly.

"Seriously, why was he talking about our children?" I pressed him.

"I guess G‑d wanted to remind us…" my husband repeated.

How bizarre, I thought. Our children are miraculous, but how could he have known? How could he have known our struggle to have kids? Before I had children I could think of nothing more miraculous than having a baby of my own. Now, after being blessed with two children, I often forget my life on the other side of the threshold. But that night, as I drove home, I reminded myself. I felt a bit of the miracle that was my life today, and I wondered how to hang on to that feeling.

Life moves so quickly; as one day replaces another, our experiences continuously shift. What is the secret to hanging on to what we glean from life's encounters? Not living in the past, but living with the past, integrating the maturity that comes from each course we complete in the school of life (aka the school of hard knocks).

Looking at Abraham, one could almost se his whole life written out on his faceAfter Sarah passes on, the Torah talks of the next chapter in Abraham's life, his attempt to marry off Isaac. As if to transition into this topic, G‑d portrays Abraham by saying, "And Abraham was old, ba bayamim (advanced in days), and G‑d had blessed Abraham with everything."

Well if he was old, isn't it obvious that he had advanced in days?

Let's take a closer look at the phrase ba bayamim. Translated literally it would mean "he had come into the days." With this translation there is no redundancy; Abraham was old, and he lived his life by entering into his days. He didn't transition from one stage of his life to the next, leaving each episode behind as he began the next, but each of his adventures made an indelible impression on him, molding him a bit. Looking at Abraham, one could almost see his whole life written out on his face—every wrinkle, every nuance, telling a story of his past.

Since Abraham "entered into his days," his days never left him. Imagine waking up in the morning and thinking, "A new day, interesting, I'd better turn the door knob, step inside and take a look." Imagine meeting someone new and thinking, "I wonder what I am meant to take from our encounter?"

If G‑d truly prepares the steps of man and if He's guiding us on a pre-meditated individualized adventure, then it becomes worthwhile to step inside and participate. The challenge is when life seems monotonous, when our challenges seem random or wrong and we are only too happy to forget about them when they pass. And when that alarm clock buzzes, the last thing that comes to mind is "How can I embrace today?"

Yet with 20/20 hindsight it is easier to see the value in our various life-experiences. The challenges teach us to appreciate what we have, and the monotonous days pull together into a colorful year. And in retrospect we tend to wish we had sunk into each day just a little bit more.

Abraham was not just old, he was wise and mature. Each day of his life he felt he'd arrived and when he left he took valuable souvenirs along with him to his next stop.

Based on a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Likutei Sichot volume 35 page 91.