Showing posts with label Tribulations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tribulations. Show all posts

March 25, 2019

An Early Death

So I received an email last night from the teacher of my Ulpan class. 

She was passing along a message from a wonderful man in class letting her and us know some terrible news.

His son suddenly and unexpectedly died at just 28-years old this past week. 

He wrote about how tragedy like this impacts a person and family, and that obviously he didn't know when he would be coming back to class. 

The message from this man who had just prematurely lost his son in the prime of his life really hit me. 

Life is so tenuous--where everything truly hangs in the balance by a thin thread. 

You can think you are building a fortress of success where no one and nothing can touch you, hurt you.

But life has its own catapults, battering rams, siege towers, and explosive moments in store.

You can't really plan for these things, and you are never ready when they happen. 

Having to bury a child is not the normal way of the wold, and the pain of this is unimaginable. 

A child is the culmination of all our efforts and represents the future, even while we are the past. 

I am so sorry for what happened to my friend from class and I wish him my sincerest condolences and that no one should have to go through such tragedy any more. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2017

It's Not (Always) Easy

Sometimes, we see people--especially on social media these days--and they look "all that!"--so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything--so it seems (superficially). 

But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:

- Family
- Health
- Finances
- Work
- School
- Conflict
- Spiritual

Like Helen Keller said: 
"I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet."

I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate--and he was right!

What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way...unfortunately, it's part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we're here. 

In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  

Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us--although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.

It's not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 

It's certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 

But it's a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that--life is not easy--and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 30, 2016

(Not) Too Hard!

So there is someone that I think the world of. 

They are what we call "good people."

But like all of us, have challenges and difficulties in life. 

Maybe their load is heavier and more taxing. 

But it is what G-d has given them to bear and to work with. 

In talking with this person, at one point, they said, "It's too hard!"

And I think we all feel that way sometimes.

Bret Stephens quoted Bernard Lewis in the Wall Street Journal today, that in trying times, some ask, "Who did this to us?" While others ask, "What did we do wrong?"

Maybe the question should be, "What can we do now?"

While some throw in the towel and can't go on or go on in a bad way, others may get angry and bitter at their lot in life.

But yet like my inspiration, Rocky, some get up and fight for what they want. 

The down is only a temporary down, but not a knockout. 

The pain stings and hurts and leaves us blurry-eyed and dizzy, but our desire to succeed pushes the adrenaline through our coursing veins, and we get up again with even a greater determination. 

"The eye of the tiger, the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenges of our rivals..."

I take responsibility. I take accountability. I want to overcome. 

I shall prevail in life and even ultimately in death, my life will mean something to somebody. 

The end is the beginning again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 2, 2016

Should You MYOB?

Great Salt And Pepper comic in the Wall Street Journal today.

"What makes you think the meaning of life is any of your business."

Man goes to mountain. 

Man seeks to know the meaning of his existence. 

Mountain tells man to mind your own business.

I guess it's just not that easy. 

No one will just tell us how each of us is to make our difference in this world. 

Of course, there is faith and religious teachings to guide us.

But each and every one of us must find our path to G-d and our mission to his world. 

In doing that we struggle through life's trials and tribulations. 

It is painful at times, but we change and grow especially when the pain of what we are doing wrong becomes greater than the pleasure we gain from it. 

The meaning is in the journey and in the destination we seek. 

Our paths are not straight, but winding and hilly and not without obstacles--but it is a trek not only to the mountain, but to the very heavens itself. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 12, 2015

Why Did G-d Create The World?

So we met the Rabbi at Starbucks for a coffee and conversation. 

We talked about such a wide variety of topics--the Ten Commandments, the laws of Shabbat, driverless cars and smartphones, women's minyan (prayer services), and even LGBT.

Not sure how this came up, but at one point the Rabbi turns to us and asks, "Why did G-d create the world?"

Taken a little off guard by this very big question, I blurted out, "To get to the other side!"

I thought he was going to fall off his chair, and then we all laughed. 

But then we started to discuss some of the traditional answers like G-d out his infinite love created us with a spark of himself.

In very mortal terms, I guess maybe it's not so fun to be G-d (omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent) but be alone in the universe.

By creating us, His children, he gave the gift of life, learning, and growth for us to emulate the Divine. 

What about all the terrible suffering?

Perhaps just part of our tests, trials, and tribulations to ultimately grow our souls. 

Still it's a tough world. 

I wonder maybe "to get to the other side"--for us to get to Heaven--isn't such a bad answer after all (even if it comes from the chicken crossing the road joke). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 27, 2014

Heaven To Look Forward To

Took the family today to see the movie Heaven Is Real.

We were all crying like babies, including me. 


Loved it!


When the boy has a near-death experience (NDE) and sees heaven, he comes back with stories about it being like here but more beautiful, where everyone is young, and relatives long gone hug him.


In heaven, there is no hate or fear--only love. 


It was eye-opening, when his father, a pastor, goes to the hospital to say the last prayers with a dying man and the pastor asks, "Do you have any regrets?" and the old man answers, "I regret everything!"


While living for our selfish satisfaction and fun may be great for a moment's high, it is certainly not a life of meaning and purpose--and will not open the gates of heaven to us. 


That life is hard is portrayed in the movie--with loss, physical hurt, and financial hardships.


But when these are viewed in the bigger picture as tests in life for us to overcome in order to merit a heaven that awaits us--perhaps this gives us some added perspective. 


In the movie, as in real life, there are those who are angry at others and G-d for what they lost, and it is our challenge to replace that anger with understanding, forgiveness, and love of each other and the Almighty. 


Regretting everything is tragic, but probably not that unrealistic for many of us...particularly in a world where we constantly strive for our individualized versions of perfection. 


In the end, I think our failures weigh on us and it's challenging to see past them to appreciate our successes as well--in whatever measure we've achieved them.


Let's face it, it is not easy to maintain 100% purity of heart amidst a world of lust, envy, and sin--but that should not take away from us constantly trying. 


Heaven awaits--even the imperfect. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 22, 2014

Bird Tries Again And Again

My daughter, Rebecca and I watched an amazing sight yesterday.

We sat on the beach before sunset to enjoy the ocean and sand without the crowds. 

It wasn't cold, but the wind was blowing somewhat strong toward the south.

There were four kite surfers enjoying the gusts and gliding over the water at enormous speeds, and curving this way and that. 

But this isn't what really got our attention.

Instead, it was this one little white bird...I don't know specifically the type, but if I had to guess I'd say it was a dove. 

The dove was flying not with the wind southernly, but against it to the north. 

In the heavy wind, it would sort of hold it's position for a little, and then try with all it's might to fly north.

But the wind was too strong, and it kept tiring and then literally nosediving--head first, straight down like off a cliff--into the water, bam!

We watched this and thought at first what is with this crazy bird--and laughed.

But over and over again this played out--I think we watched this for nearly an hour!

After each attempt, the bird would pick itself out of the ocean water again, fly back south a little seemingly to get some momentum--only to try again and end up on it's face in the water. 

Reflecting on this, the bird tried again and again to make headway, no matter how many times it fell flat on it's face.

I thought this is a good lesson in life--not to give up even when things seems difficult. 

If this little bird could do it--so could we--and eventually succeed at whatever we set our minds to. 

If the white little bird really was a dove--the symbol for peace--then what better story to keep trying until you succeed and make flight even against the strong wind. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 19, 2011

What Arms and Legs Can't Touch

Unbelievable video of Nick Vujicic coaching people to believe in themselves.

The catch is that Nick himself is missing all four limbs.

Yet he shows how he can--without arms and legs--run, boat, dive, fish, water slide, play soccer, golf, and much more.

I love when he says with conviction:

- "Forget about what you don't have. Be grateful for what you do have."

- Don't be angry at your life and at others.

- You are worthwhile and you are beautiful.

- You have the strength to conquer.

I am inspired--no, I am amazed--by this human being.

Sometimes, like now, when I see such courage and strength, I wonder how people do it!

Life is so challenging even when we have all our limbs and faculties...

I think that G-d must give a special gift to these people so they can inspire others and be role models for us.

So that when times are tough, we can remember them and be elevated to break our own barriers and limitations.


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December 4, 2011

Life Perspective

I saw this picture and immediately feel in love with it--it is so simple, yet so brilliant.

Like the 6 days of creation and then G-d rested, this picture illuminates in 6 panes of shades of black and white, the cycle of life of man and woman, and then stops (rests).

From carefree children to growing young adults, love and marriage, old age together, loss and loneliness, and finally together again--returned to the earth and I believe in the after-world.

The tree on the left overhands and follows the path of the couple; it grows, matures, and seems to whither along with them--this is mother earth clearly sheltering and closely intertwined with its children.

The connection between people and earth, between one person and another, and between this world and the next...the whole of life's existence and purpose seems to be expressed here.

The meaning and purpose is inherent in the cycle itself--throughout our growth, we experience trials and tribulation--and our mettle is tested and proven until it ends or perhaps begins again.

The overall story is of time marching on, and we but mortals experiencing so much--growth and decline, connection and separation, pleasure and pain--yet never escaping time's grasp.

This is the cycle of life and G-d is ever at the helm.

To me, this picture brings perspective, understanding, fear, and peace all at the same time.

(Source Photo: here)

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October 1, 2011

I Want To Be Possible

On Rosh Hashanah, The Jewish New Year, which is a time of personal reflection, the Rabbi told us a story (which I made into the attached cartoon) about the person, who when asked what he wanted to be--when he grew up--said "I want to be possible!" That's the serious part.

And when asked "why possible? The person replies humorously because his mother always told him how impossible he is. :-)

The short parable struck me as pretty profound and worth sharing.

Because everyday, each of us has to wake up and look ourselves in the mirror, and ask--are we happy with ourselves...who we are...what we have become?

And is it really what we want to be, when we, proverbially, grow up?

In the movie Reckless, when they ask the teen growing up in the working class town what he wants out of life--he replies short and to point, "More!"

What more do we want out of our lives? More money, more honor, more things...at the end, that's all sort of besides the point--isn't it?

What is important is making more possibilities in life--for ourselves and for others by creating a better world.

In other words, it's not about the material (although we all need to take basic care for ourselves and our loved ones--that's just being responsible), but fundamentally, it's about the opportunity to make the impossible, possible!

For each of us, the challenges are unique and all too often (G-d protect us!), life's trials and tribulations test us to our very core--so overcoming impossibilities has a distinct meaning for all of us.

But as a strategist, a futurist, and an enterprise architect, I know deep down that the art of the possible is in looking forward and not backwards, and working tirelessly to sacrifice and serve.

I pray for the new year that G-d gives us the strength and the wisdom to overcome our personal and societal weaknesses, limitations, and selfish inclinations to help and "repair the world"--creating new opportunities for peace, health, and prosperity for all!

(Cartoon created in BitStrips)

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May 30, 2011

"G-d Said No"

A friend sent this to me and I wanted to share it with others who can benefit.

Hope you enjoy!

___________________________________________


I asked G-d to make my handicapped child whole.

G-d said, No.

His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.


I asked G-d to grant me patience.

G-d said, No.

Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;

it isn't granted, it is learned.


I asked G-d to give me happiness.

G-d said, No.

I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.


I asked G-d to spare me pain.

G-d said, No.

Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares

and brings you closer to me.


I asked G-d to make my spirit grow.

G-d said, No.

You must grow on your own!

but I will prune you to make you fruitful.


I asked G-d for all things that I might enjoy life.

G-d said, No.

I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.


I asked G-d to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.

G-d said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.


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