More Invested in G-d: Two Great Parables from Dov for Step 3
The Crazy Jets Fan
A guy who was a crazy Jets fan missed an important game but his friend taped it for him. By the time he got the tape, he had already heard on the news that his Jets won that game.
That night he set up beer, chips, salsa, closed door, all for watching the game. Halfway through the game his son, a Dolphins fan, came into the room and said, "Dad, are you OK? Every time you watch a game you go crazy yelling at the players, cursing like a sailor, and spilling your beer during touchdowns. Why are you so quiet tonight?"
He answered, "Well, you're right, son. But I already know that my boys will win this game at the end in overtime, so I don't get all emotionally wrapped up in how the plays are going. I mean, it's interesting and fun to watch, but I just can't get carried away like I normally do."
When we start to know that G-d will make everything right in the end, and that everything that will ever happen is for our benefit cuz it's His Will, the personal investment we have in things happening the way we plan is much less. And we start to trust Him a bit, then slowly more and more. Especially when we see that he really does keep us sober.
The Jerk on the Freeway
When I am driving and get passed aggressively by some jerk, my natural inclination is to catch up to him, overtake him, and cut him off, slowing him down. Or, to at least pass him by. This has led me to a few cat-and-mouse games on the highway in the past... dangerous and obviously stupid, particularly for a grownup (ha!).
So nowadays, I do not do the battle for the highway game any more, but I at least am tempted to catch up to the sucker and show him that his reckless speed can be matched by me!
So what happens when I get to my exit and he is still in the left lane zooming along in competition with me?... The thought that I will have to slow down and bear right to get off and go to my destination, and the sneer he will send my way ("I beat you, fool! Ha!") is just - plain - torture. But what do I do? Miss my exit?!
I have been really tempted to, let me tell you. Am I the only sicko here?
Well. This is what the 3rd step is about. I am on a journey. I have a destination. G-d is leading me somewhere all the time. But my jealousies, fears, pride, lusts, etc. - they all get me invested in what's 'just gotta' happen. They blind me to caring about G-d's Will for me. I stay miserable, throw my good sense to the wind and just "chase the bastard".
Sometimes it's subtle (like when we get wrapped up in feeling sorry for ourselves, getting carried away in self-absorbed thinking and we isolate instead of getting involved in taking life by the horns and being a father, son, yid, whatever) - and sometimes it is shocking (like screaming at our kid because he/she violated our will!).
So the 3rd step for me is connected to my ability to slow down in the middle of my insane chase with the aggressive driver who passed me a minute ago, and just get off at my exit - really at G-d's exit for me - and live life on Hashem's terms rather than mine, at least for that minute.
Those moments of painful surrender to Hashem's Will for us grow and grow, and the job is probably never done. But living right gets easier and easier, not harder and harder. We get more invested in G-d, and less invested in our own desires.