Several times recently, my eldest daughter has expressed her desire to do everything she possibly can. She wants to make the best use of every single second of the day. She does not want to waste even an hour of her precious time.
I can understand that. I used to feel the same way. To be honest, I still do.
When I was in high school, we read Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. One line burned itself into my memory: "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."
Even then, I understood how precious, and valuable, time is to us. I knew that wasted time is lost forever and how we use our time affects the very fabric of our being.
I remember the day when I came face to face with the fact that I can not do everything.
I was a sophomore in college and I could not figure out how to juggle two conflicting activities, both of which I really wanted to do.
I called my father.
I knew my father, the man who could solve any problem in the world, could help me solve this one.
I sat on my bed, and explained why it was imperative that I find a way to do both activities (neither of which I can remember now).
After listening patiently, my father's response was straight and to the point: "you cannot do both."
"But Daddy...." I pleaded, needing him to understand, needing him to to solve my dilemma!
Now he needed me to understand.
There are times in life when we cannot do everything we want, no matter how hard we try; sometimes we have to choose.
The most difficult choices in life are not between right and wrong -- those choices are easy; the correct decision is clear. The most difficult decisions are choosing between right and right.
It has never been easy for me to give up something that I want to do.
Perhaps the hardest part of cancer, for me, is the additional limitations that it places on my time and energy.
I want to do more, not less.
I have never been good at accepting my limitations.
To this day, my father admonishes me for trying to do "too much."
Once, my father sat with me, and tried to help me create a schedule out of all that I wanted to do and all that I needed to do.
There were not enough hours in the day to do everything.
My father thought the conclusion was obvious: I have to cut things out of my "to do" list.
My solution: throw out the schedule!
I do not want to "slow down."
I have to, but I do not want to.
Like my daughter, I want to do everything that I can.
Perhaps it is folly.
Which brings me to the second quote that burned itself into my memory in high school: "And still I persist in wondering whether folly must always be our nemesis." (Edgar Pangborn)
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
Plant for kapparos during shmitta
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