It’s exciting to be on a journey. We get to see new places and meet interesting people. And every step of the way we know we’re getting closer to our destination.
The Torah tells us about the 40-year journey of the Jewish people, which began after they were freed from slavery in Egypt, and which ended when they finally reached the Land of Israel.
Some places they stayed longer and some places shorter, but each stop was necessary to get them where they had to go.
We may not realize it, but our whole life is one big journey. The families we have, the places we live, and the people we encounter are not by chance. They are all part of God’s carefully arranged plan to help us grow spiritually into who we have the potential to become. All that happens to us helps us to get there, even if we don’t see it.
In our story we meet a girl who appreciates the journey of life.
Stops Along the Way
My friend Amy has a funny way of looking at things.
I saw her the other day in school. Since it was a new term we started talking about the classes we were taking. I told her that I was very excited about studying French this year. She told me that she had also signed up for French but all the classes were full, and so she was assigned to the Russian class instead.
“Russian!” I said. “You must really be disappointed!”
Amy just smiled. “I guess I’m going to need it for something someday. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been placed there.”
Well, if it were me, I think I would have locked myself in my room for three days.
I didn’t bump into Amy again until it was almost winter break. Of course we spoke about where we would be going for vacation. She told me that she planned all year to take this amazing trip down to Disney World but, at the last minute, her parents had changed their minds and decided to take everyone on a historical trip to Europe instead. She and her family were going to get passports that afternoon.
“Uggh, how boring,” I thought. But believe it or not, Amy just took it all in stride. “It was meant to be, I guess. This is just another stop on my journey through life. Maybe someday I’ll find out why,” she said calmly.
That’s sure not the way I would have reacted!
But you haven’t heard anything yet. Just last week I invited all the kids over for a sleepover birthday party at my house. I knew Amy would be excited because she loves these kinds of things, but guess what? She said she couldn’t come because they were having guests from out of town. Some lady was coming that was her Mom’s second cousin. Amy hadn’t even met her before, but she had to stay home.
Now I was sure Amy would be mad. But I almost fell over when she just cheerfully said, “I guess it’s just part of my life’s plan that I meet her instead of going to a party.”
I told you that she had a funny way of looking at things.
But you wouldn’t believe what happened. I got a call yesterday that blew my mind.
It was Amy. At first I didn’t even recognize her voice because she was so excited.
It turns out that the lady cousin of her Mom’s is a famous teacher who makes educational movies and who is about to fly to Moscow to make a film about Russian kids. She invited Amy to come with her for two weeks to assist her and be in the film. They would stay at the best five-star hotels and be interviewed on Russian TV. Since it is educational, Amy would even be allowed to miss school and get school credit for it.
Sounds great right? But there’s more.
The filmmaker said she could only take someone along who could speak at least a little Russian and had a ready passport since they had to leave right away. “Just think,” Amy said to me, “If I hadn’t ‘gotten stuck’ taking Russian, if I hadn’t gone to Europe and needed a passport, and if I hadn’t missed out on your party to meet this lady, I would never have been able to go on this dream trip!”
Well, I was speechless.
It now seems to me that Amy’s way of looking at things really isn’t so funny after all. In fact, maybe that’s how I’m going to start looking at things from now on.
Nesanel Yoel Safran is a writer, chef and a teacher/student of Jewish spirituality. He blends these assorted vocations on his blog, Soul Foodie, where you can join him on mystical cooking adventures and glean practical wisdom for the kitchen – and for living. https://soulfoodiecom.wordpress.com