It’s 2:15Pm on a Monday and I am sitting in an airport in Eureka, Montana. Not an uncommon occurrence in my life as a mohel. However, today’s trip, did not pan out as planned, but the resulting circumstances have emphasized an important lesson in life that is too often forgotten by so many, me included. What was different about this trip? Well, I arrived in Eureka on schedule at 11:00am to perform 8 circumcisions. I went outside to the curb to wait for my ride to the birth center. It was now 11:10. I waited, and waited, and waited,…….and waited. No one came. I began to call the birth center only to keep getting voice mail. I went on line to try to find the home phone numbers of the midwives I work for here. One was disconnected, the other was not listed and the third midwife’s phone just kept ringing. Normally, I would have become very upset and frustrated thinking, “What chutzpah, you have me fly all the way out here and forget to pick me up? The amount of money I will lose today due to travel expenses and lost revenue. I have so much to do back home, and now my day is wasted”, and other similar thoughts. But today is different. Why? Because G-d blessed my wife and I with a baby grand daughter last night, and nothing can minimize the joy and gratitude that I feel towards Him for his special gift to us. Compared to the birth of Menucha Rus (named for my recently deceased mother-in-law), who cares about a wasted day flying around the country accomplishing nothing other than losing some serious money and sleep. I began to feel pretty proud of myself that I wasn’t going to let the cost of the wasted airplane ticket, time, and the inconvenience of getting up at 4:00am AFTER running a massive weekend retreat, upset me and get in the way of my joy and happiness.
Then it hit me!
Each and every day G-d showers us with thousands of blessings and acts of kindness. True, it may not be the birth of a child or grandchild every day, but are the blessings of sight, hearing, mobility, loving spouse, wonderful children, a job, a connection to G-d any less? Do we owe G-d any less gratitude for all the blessings He gives us and the kindness he does for us on a daily basis? Obviously, not! It is just that since they are daily occurrences and “always” there, we don’t pay attention to them and have come to take them for granted. It is only when He, G-d forbid, takes them away that we begin to notice what we had and have now lost. Who wouldn’t endure a “wasted” day in the oil fields of Texas if it would mean getting their sight back, their health back, a spouse, loving children. Most of us would run to spend a “wasted” day like I am having today.
So, as I now sit on a plane back to St. Louis and reflect on the past 18 hours, maybe today wasn’t a “wasted” day after all. Perhaps, I gained much more than a paycheck. Perhaps I have gained a renewed sensitivity to the kidness that G-d does for me each and every day, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to maintain that sensitivity and gratitude for all that He does for me and my family so that the next time things don’t go as planned, instead of getting upset and frustrated, I’ll look up and with a knowing smile say, “Thank You G-d, thank You for everything!” with a complete heart.