Are You a Turkey or a Dumb Blonde?
Turns out that blondes may really not be able to walk and chew gum at the same time(although many do think they can drive, put on mascara, text and drink a latte concurrently). But it was just last week while I was on the treadmill listening to an audio book on my ipod when I literally forgot to walk for a moment and found myself nearly flying. Quantum physics is no easy subject to absorb even while sitting, but trying to take it in while trotting proved to be a painful experiment both to my ankle and to my pride. Literally so caught up in thought, I stopped walking. But as someone who goes through life packing my purse with life lessons and thinking that all things have a reason, I sought to find one here. “What could God be trying to tell me?” I asked my very practical mother, seeking guru-like profundity. But with her usual caustic wit she replied, “God is telling you that you have to keep on walking.”
Indeed, the answer was as simple and deep as that. In today’s very difficult times, so many of us are going through great personal hardships financially, psychologically, and emotionally. Many people find themselves without jobs or their beloved careers and are living on their last dime, getting increasingly depressed and demoralized. The “hope” and “change” many relied on has not panned out and from day to day, things seem to be getting worse. So many of us have just stopped!
The job search seems not to be worthwhile; getting dressed in the morning becomes a bigger chore; getting off the couch becomes evermore challenging, and hope, well hope, is just a taunting stretch of the imagination that only a skilled wannabe-president can evoke.
But are each and every one of you so “blonde” that while tuned into an ipod of despair you have become immobilized? Time spins by so fast that we cannot feel its passage, just as we cannot feel speed when we are in an airplane. But whether we perceive it or not, life is a treadmill and we have to keep walking no matter what--you cannot let it throw you off! Indeed, no hope will be found in the pockets of your bathrobe or in the cracks of your couch, at the bottom of your cognac or in idleness--Satan’s arms. Sitting around and waiting for things to change is the lazy accomplice of despair.
Which brings me to the subject of Thanksgiving.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time of expressing our gratitude for all the blessings we have in our life. So, in effect, this holiday is badly named; it should really be called Thanks Taking, for we are the lucky recipients of God’s bounty and grace. And though this year many people will have “skinnier” turkeys because money is tight, perhaps this year can give us a true perspective of what the holiday may really be about.
Sages teach us that man is not measured by what he has in life, but rather by what he can give. Instead of fretting this holiday because we have less to be thankful for, be evermore grateful for all the things which you are able to GIVE. Can you play an instrument? Then volunteer at a seniors’ residence. Do have your sight? Then volunteer to help the blind. Do you have legs? Then commit yourself to help the handicapped. Do you have your health? Then visit the ill. In our giving not our taking we realize the depth of gratitude we owe our Maker. When we take stock of our personal inventories as human beings and acknowledge all that we have to “give,” we become more evolved than the ego-stuffed turkeys we so often resemble.
In the Bible segment studied in synagogue’s this week, we read about Jacob’s ladder upon which the angels were ascending and descending. Nowhere does it say the angels got tired or lazy, so they hung on a rung and chilled for awhile. In life you are either going up or going down; there is really no such thing as the status quo. And I’m not talking about the ladder to success that is rooted in BS and ascends to idolatry and sin. I’m talking about the ladder to God that the Bible tells us was rooted in the earth and ascended to Heaven teaching us that the path to God is planted in the mundane. We can elevate the nitty-gritty of life--our hardships, our pains, our trials--by facing it with dignity, decency, integrity and courage. Our duty is to keep climbing upward. Moses wandered the desert for 40 years, but you never heard him complain that his feet hurt. He never said I’m staying in my tent and watching Oprah today, I’ll deal with Pharaoh tomorrow.
Interestingly, the great patriarch Jacob’s name means heel (of the foot) in Hebrew. In terms of marketing a patriarch--the family head--certainly God could have done better. But Jacob’s name suited his God-given destiny. Jacob had to continually hit the pavement during his life. He was always running from one place to another in order to survive. In the end God changed Jacob’s stage name to reflect his next act in life: He named him Israel, who became the father of the twelve tribes and a blessed nation. The secret to his earned success is that he never ever got off the treadmill. Maybe he, too, had a mother who counseled him during the hardest of times, “Gods telling you that you HAVE TO keep on walking.”
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