Have you ever had a day that was perfect? Truly perfect?
During sukkot (yes, that is right, it has taken me until Chanukah to write about it,) I and my family met one of my very best friends and her family at the beach in Ashdod. The weather was perfect, the waves were perfect, the scenery was perfect, and the company was even more perfect.
At some point in the afternoon the two husbands left with half of the kids, and I was left on the beach with my daughter joyfully riding waves and jumping into the arms of my friend. The kids that stayed with us were happy. No one needed me, no phone was ringing, no chores awaited; it was late in the day so not too hot or cold, and everything was, well, perfect.
As I sat there I tried to take in the moment and internalize it. To keep it recorded in my memory and in my soul so that I could go back there and visit it at some when life is feeling a lot less perfect. I also tried to figure out what Hashem wanted me to be learning from this slice of perfection. What am I supposed to learn from this beach, this day, in this scenario.
I spent a good part of the day in the waves myself. Waves that were big enough to lift you up and carry you, but not out of control or “hostile”. Most of the time I was riding with ease. At one point I was socializing, enjoying myself, but distracted, and I did get carried under. I was fine, but very concerned about my hair covering coming off, so I kept my head in the water until I could retrieve it and put it back on. I looked ridiculous, but there wasn’t anyone there to notice. (At least that is what I tell myself.)
It occurred to me, while sitting on the beach in complete solitude and bliss that was is true of the waves is true in the rest of the world that God has given us:
When we are prepared for what is coming, then we stand in the right place, catch the wave and use it as an opportunity to move, enjoying the process. When we aren’t prepared for what is coming, it comes anyway, and often knocks us down and pushes us under. We often feel like we are drowning, even when we aren’t, and have a hard time getting our footing again. Especially because once that wave catches us off guard, the next one just comes rolling in whether we have gotten back up or not.
There are experiences that come and are sometimes merely crises because we weren’t prepared for them. We can’t always know what will come our way, but I think that working on one’s faith is a lot like standing in position for the next wave. Having faith that is strong, developed and ready makes it so much easier for you to meet the next challenge and “ride” it through, and working on ourselves and our character, being in tune with the calendar and what God wants from us, instead of absently just going along, increases our chances of seeing the waves before they arrive – and crash down on our heads.