Humble pie, Hashem, and gratitude really go hand in hand.
At age 18 I had big plans: a husband, a home and four children by the time I am 30. Not unrealistic. (Though I now wonder why I ever wanted so many kids at that period of my life when I was so estranged from religious life and thought. Not the same types of dreams my peers had that’s for sure.) I thought I knew what was good for me. Arrogance.
Then came life. Ups, downs, achievements, failures, left, right, travel, university, Judaism, marriage, divorce.
Now, just past my 29th Hebrew birthday, in the recognition of failing “my dream”, I see that I’ve achieved two things that I never planned to, but that mean so much more: “internal achievement” of humility and gratitude.
If life is about growing as a person, improving your middos (character traits), then the path that I’ve travelled is my perfect path. The obstacles given to me are my perfect obstacles. That makes me smile: Hashem’s brilliance is so very clear. Sure, He has a sense of humor that we don’t always understand and it can be more than a little scary. Every challenge is chosen for us with absolute kindness to steer us in the right direction to improve ourselves in just the right way, as each individual needs. Every event, person, sound etc in your life was placed there at that exact time for you. Nothing is luck. Nothing is a coincidence. Recognition of Hashem’s influence on every aspect of our lives leads to our humility. When we see ourselves and life in perspective of this bigger picture of kind nods and prods, how grateful we become about everything we have been given! Such a skillful, eloquent and precise Director! Not just now, but throughout our whole lives, culminating in today.
Today you can see how all the externals that were placed around you affect your internal, who you truly are. Its our choice whether we listen to the cues and grow from them. Your success is the internal changes you make. The external was a gift to allow for your internal growth.
Today is therefore the day for gratitude, an appreciation of who you are internally because of all you’ve been given externally.
Ultimately, recognize your only human. Let go of your measure of success (external dreams are not why you are here!), find your spotlight on the arranged stage you’ve been given and listen for the cues from the Director. He’s running the show and He wants it to succeed. Humble yourself to His foresight and His direction, and you will see true success: your true “internal you” bloom.