I’m in an Upstate New York State of Mind
I have never successfully made an omelet in my life. Not even once. But it's not for lack of knowing how to cook – and no, I don't cook because Orthodox women are relegated to the kitchen. My husband and I both cook because we like to eat good food – but anyway, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, every attempted omelet in my life has always morphed into scrambled eggs because omelets require one ingredient that I've never been able to acquire….patience.
I'm so impatient, I've seen kids with more perspective. For instance, a few months ago, when my sister was expecting a baby, days away from her due date, I was bouncing off the walls, nudging my daughter, "Well, where's your cousin? When's that baby gonna get born already?" In a calm, controlled voice, my daughter, who was four at the time, explained to me, "Mommy, the baby will come when the baby is ready to come." "Deep," I thought to myself.
I don't think living in New York City helps my impatience very much either. Especially when I'm driving. See car horns in the city don't actually have a honking option, only a blaring one. So if you pause for a moment, for any particular reason (except for perhaps dying) while you're driving in this city, you will get blared at. In fact, I'm so used to the horn etiquette in this town, if I'm ever around drivers with patience, something seems seriously off.
Like when I was in Upstate New York last summer, on a weekend away, and we found ourselves in this quaint (some might call it dinky, but I never would) little town. I needed to stop off at a store to pick up some snacks for the road, but when I went to parallel park, I stupidly put my car in head first.
Panic, shortness of breath as I braced myself for the blaring. But instead, there was silence. And despite the fact that the cars behind me started to pile up, one after another, as I pulled out, drove forward, and proceeded to correctly parallel park, they all just sat there patiently waiting for me to finish.
"Honk," I futilely screamed at the other drivers through my closed windows. "I was stupid. I wasted your time. I deserve an auditory reproach!" But not a single driver would oblige.
I've been feeling very impatient, of late, with the progress here at JewintheCity.com. My new website was supposed to be finished over a month ago, and it was already three months behind schedule at that point. Since I'm completely clueless when it comes to web design and am forced to rely on the help of others, I've been driving myself crazy, trying to figure out how to make other people move faster and finish sooner. But I'm done with all that now because I've finally come to a place that Upstate New Yorkers seem to reside all year long. I've reached a point in understanding that my pre-schooler grasped several months ago: some things are out of our hands.
In Judaism, if we want to accomplish something, we must first put in our hish-TAD-lus (effort) as effectively as we can. Things in the world usually don't happen by just sitting around. However, once we've done everything there is to do in order to achieve our goal, we need to simply let go and trust that there is a greater plan. (The trusting part is called bee-TA-chon.) Perhaps our desired outcome will happen, perhaps it will not. But in the end, if we remind ourselves that we are not ultimately in control of life, and defer to the One who is, we'll end up with a whole lot more sanity and far fewer scrambled eggs.