As we sit in our homes in NJ bracing for Frankenstorm aka Sandy I am reminded of a Kabbalistic/Hasidic saying, “Man makes plans and God laughs”.
I don’t believe in a sadistic God (although some may disagree) and I don’t believe that our lives are predetermined, but I do understand what the Kabbalists meant. How we understand the phrase “and God laughs” may determine our level of serenity or anger and bitterness.
Many if not most of us try to direct our own lives. We may also try to direct the lives of others we love and care for. We seems to know many individuals who could be categorized as “control freaks”. And clearly we all fear the chaos that life can bring to anyone of us at anytime.
To a great extent we can visualize a future situation, can make decisions and undertake actions that we firmly believe will get us there. But how often do we find our paths blocked? How often do unexpected events and circumstances change our deeply desired futures? How often do situations or people come into our lives which cause us to change our own thoughts of our own future?
We have all experienced individuals who have deeply disappointed us, who did not live up to our expectations of them. We have had jobs in which our bosses or fellow workers made life unbearable for us. We have worked diligently and successfully for companies whose corporate bosses made decisions which deeply impacted our own lives. We have lived with unforeseen medical problems and the death of loved ones which have torn our dreams apart.
And then there are the natural forces. Sandy is clearly one of them. When they occur ( even to a much smaller degree than Sandy) we are have no choice but to accept our dependency on forces greater than ourselves.
Sometimes there are conditions beyond our control which may cause us to reflect and reconsider. Unexpected situations arise and we must accept them as the new baseline from which to operate.
Perhaps that door we are pounding on to open is not where we should be going after all. Perhaps the door that is partially open next to it is a better course for us.
The path to a meaningful life requires us to walk the tight rope between accepting what we cannot change despite our most courageous efforts and finding meaning in the way forward. The unfortunate result of disappointment can be anger and bitterness, but it doesn’t have to be.
Just be aware that it is not completely in our hands. How we understand the phrase “and God laughs” will allow us to live our lives with serenity or bitterness. That is still our choice to make.