Stop that Horse!
I love the story of the rebbe who sees one of his young students galloping through their town on the back of a fast horse. “Where are you going with so much speed?” calls the rebbe.
“I have no idea,” shouts back the young student. “Ask the horse!”
So often, this is exactly what life feels like for me! I have no idea where my life is flying to; I just hold on to my routines and schedules and To Do lists for dear life and they take me at full speed from day to day.
I was thinking about this story today because yet another snow storm called a halt to my full-tilt gallop. At home this morning with a sun-filled winter wonderland outside my window, I sat quietly and asked myself if I know the direction in which I am running. Note that I am not asking for a destination. I would just like to know that I am guiding the horse and not the other way around.
What is important and valuable enough in our lives to convince us to grab the reins and take charge? Can we change our routines just a little bit to bring something new into our days, something rewarding and meaningful? Can we find the way for Jewish living and connection to God to be at the center of our journey rather than another activity on the To Do List of our lives?
A congregant recently shared with me that she had been living life full tilt, but had forgotten to nourish her soul. She loves and cares for her family, does meaningful work, and takes the time to keep her body healthy. Her life is full and rich. She shared that she started to feel that something was missing and realized that she had not been in synagogue since Yom Kippur. She returned one Shabbat morning for a simcha and has been in services every Saturday since. “The quiet and the peace of the service gives me something I cannot otherwise find. I love my life, and take good care of myself physically, intellectually and emotionally. But I came to know that I must take care of my soul as well,” she explained to me.
This congregant reined in the horse. She asked, “Where exactly am I headed?” She reminded me to do the same, and I in turn pass on her wisdom to you.
B’yedidut, With friendship, Rabbi Paula Mack Drill