The children are staying at my in-laws tonight. I am not real happy about this because I enjoy spending Shabbos with them. But there is a lady with a bad back in the house and she needs a day to herself to recover and it made more sense to take advantage of the resource.
My son was none too happy and fought to stay home. I came close to giving in as I thought about all of the different games and things that we could do together. But sometimes there are hard decisions to be made. In truth this was not that hard a decision, but I’ll miss saying the brachas with him and watching him try to watch me without getting caught.
So I told him that this was very important (it is) and that I would really appreciate his help. And like all good 4 year-old boys he told me that I was wrong and that he was angry with me. So I picked him up and told him to hold still for his special blessing. He struggled momentarily and then lay his head against my shoulder, listening to the words of the blessing.
When I finished he smiled and kissed me on the cheek and all was good. I grabbed my daughter and blessed her too. And with that we loaded them into the car and off they went.
A short time later it began to thunder and lightning flashed across the sky. If I were more suspicious I would spend more time trying to figure out the meaning of the thunder and lightning. Was it approval or a sign that I had irritated someone. No matter, we make our decisions and then we live with them, sometimes adjusting as we go.
Throughout my life you could characterize a large number of my activities as having been entered into with reckless abandon. I threw myself into them, often without paying much attention to details, who needed to plan, I wanted to live. And it seemed to me that living, real living, passionate living demanded that I step into the water without regard for the temperature.
Sometimes I was burned by the heat and sometimes I did my version of George Costanza, screaming “there was shrinkage! there was shrinkage!” But often I found that the water wasn’t as hot or as cold I had thought it to be, it just took a moment to adjust to the surroundings and then I was fine.
Life is often about whether you act or react to the things that happen around you.