Why am I here? What is my purpose? How can I find meaning in my life?
A group of followers came to study with their Spiritual Leader and found him sitting and weeping. They tried to console him.
“Why are you crying?” they asked.
“When I was young, he said, “I thought I could change the world, so I set out to try. That’s how I learned that the world is a very difficult thing to change.”
“When I turned thirty, I decided that it was just as important for me to perfect my small corner of the world, so I placed all my energies into trying to improve my community and my students. That’s how learned that communities and classes cannot be made perfect.”
“At the age of forty, I set about just to change my family. I spent hours with my children trying to make them perfect. But, I learned that even families cannot be perfected.”
“When I reached my maturity, I realized that there was only one who would listen to the lessons I had been placed in the world to teach, so I set out to perfect myself. But, now I realize that even that is beyond my power.”
The students were afraid. If even the great Spiritual Leader and Teacher, could not perfect himself, what chance did they have? They turned to consoling him even more. “You have become a righteous and holy man. What you do is just and right. You should not mourn because you are not perfect After all, the Holy One doesn’t ask us to be perfect. Only the Holy One is perfect.”
“No, said he, “you misunderstand. I am not weeping because of the great blessing that has been granted to me.”
“We don’t understand. What blessing is that?” the students asked, totally confused at this point.
The Spiritual Leader answered, “All through my life, the Holy One has given me the strength to try. At each step of my life, I have been blessed to to to try to make my world a better place. I cry with joy for being given all these years in which to live this amazing journey.”
May we be granted the years to take our amazing journey, one challenge, one change, and one value at a time.
Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe, a cancer survivor, is a motivational/inspirational speaker on the theme NEVER GIVE UP! He authored “Why Me? Why Anyone?” which chronicles his rescue from leukemia and his spiritual triumph over despair. Known as “The Running Rabbi” for competing in the NY Marathon, he received the “Award of Courage” from President Ronald Reagan in a White House ceremony. Rabbi Jaffe was one of the clergy who visited the American hostages in Iran to offer them comfort and hope and was asked by the President to greet them at the White House upon their return. He received an honorary Doctorate from his seminary for “his work with the sick, and his noble influence upon all people. You can follow him on Facebook.
Image courtesy of Steve Halama.