Washington, DC | May 9, 2022 | 8 Iyar 5782
G-d willing, we are here and the world has not faltered to this day.
I have moved many times in my life. Each move helped me perfect a routine on the entire moving process whether I moved from one part of town to another, across the ocean or from one coast to another. These experiences vary drastically from a small town to a large metropolitan area to suburbs to downtown in a large city. Every place shaped me and molded me into a new person. I have lost and gained in every place, but one constant has remained with me and that is my faith in my G-d and my persistence to walk on the narrow path I had set my journey on as a young child.
What is this narrow path? It can be defined in many ways and is unique to each individual who chooses to walk through life’s journey on one’s narrow path. Traditionally, the narrow path usually leads one to a fulfilling life while the wider path leads to pain and ultimate destruction. As I look back on my short life on earth, I can rightly conclude that I never deviated from the narrow path. I have gotten exhausted, thirsty, hungry and not once have I fallen on the narrow path, but I always remained on the narrow path without looking back, turning right or turning left. Every crossroad has kept me on the narrow path, and the further I go, the more difficult it is to stay on course. At times it is not the appeal of the wider path that stops me to think or that somehow my adversary sways me to leave the narrow path, but it is the lack of strength to carry on that shakes me.
I have worked relentlessly on my character. I have developed principals that are important to me regardless of my ability to compromise and set new standards. In all of this I remained on the narrow path and chose life at all times. As I reached my late twenties, I had thought that it must be it for my character that I had learned all I could and that I was molded to an unaltering shape, but I was beguiling myself.
One morning, a few months before my thirtieth birthday, I woke up and decided that I would buy myself a pair of shoes I had wanted since I was a teen. These shoes were to represent a gift to myself from myself. After all, I was single, alone, never been married, with no husband nor children to tend to, my parents and siblings were doing very well, I thought, why not fulfill my deepest desires I had developed on my narrow path as a teen. So I purchased those shoes. They arrived from Italy after seven months, and I was over the moon. They have so much bling and they are perfect, but I am yet to wear them anywhere. This was almost a year before Covid-19. I will not disclose the price of these shoes because the whole process of desiring, longing and buying them became my biggest lesson in life.
I never liked expensive items. I always preferred simplicity and simple life, but growing up with almost nothing and watching all other girls have the world in my eyes, I had my eyes set on those shoes. So there I was living a block away from the beach, trying out my beautiful new shoes thinking that the best is yet to come. Boy was I off a little. Soon after I received the shoes, California went into a lock-down. I am not going to lie, I had a moment of scare, but just for a moment, and within a day I realized how destructive the lockdowns would be to those families like mine was when I was growing up. All of a sudden, the shoes did not matter. I wanted nothing to spend my money on. Nothing mattered all of a sudden. To this day I remain in this simplicity purchasing only what I need when I need depending on a season and removing anything that no longer benefits my soul. Even before I bought the shoes, I was very frugal on my spending habits, but this action permanently placed me on a restraint. Now the more I see people share their best new items, the further I am from any worldly possessions.
Many times my siblings and I discussed a question: “What would you take with you, if you only had time to take one item with you?” This conversation persisted with us due to many moves we had experienced. Today, I say, if I can save my soul, then that is what I will take with me. The shoes would not even cross my mind. Thus, even these conversations kept me on the narrow path and continued to mold me to a new version of myself just like the shoes that I once longed for and now I own.
Outside of my narrow path, I no longer notice that people chase something, whether it is money, passions, something better, because the reality is that it is all chasing after the wind. The present state is ignored. A lot of people live in the future without realizing that today is sunsetting. Hungry children need to be fed today, not tomorrow, and by hungry I do not mean only physical hunger. This is nothing new, yet it is all wrapped up beautifully in a modern packaging of our generation with a fine disclaimer, “Be aware, time is running out, and a new generation is around the corner.”
Today, I found myself thinking about the adult conversations regarding the narrow path that I had listened to before I went to school as a young girl. Countless of those conversations were concluded on how difficult the path is and unfortunately many people fall and sometimes leave it altogether without returning. Even back then I understood that life on a narrow path brings a lot of pain and difficulties, but I never thought that my own journey on this narrow path would bring me this much heartache. I never imagined that my tests and trials would accompany so much anguish. Even so, I remain on the narrow path and have always remained on it. I now know that from today on and forward, I will continue to be molded and shaped as long as breath remains with me.
To everyone who will read and to myself, I am adding one of my all time favorite statements from Pirkei Avot, Chapter 3: “Know from where you came, where you are going, and before whom you are destined to give judgment and accounting.” This statement was lived by everyone in my childhood, and I carried it with me to 2022.
On my narrow path, I am learning to slow down and enjoy every breath. Happiness is not chasing after the wind and lack of heartache. Happiness is a state of mind that fluctuates like a pendulum from highs to lows while gratitude carries us to our next version of ourselves.
Talk to you soon dear readers.