Lessons In Humility
The other week a woman calling herself “Reliable, yet not infallible” (Chronicles, 2-28) wrote to you about how she once undertook to say a parcel of Tehillim every day for an ill acquaintance and inadvertently ended up not completing her quota one day when she was interrupted in the process.
Her letter struck a chord with me, as I too was agonizing about messing up – also inadvertently and due to a disruption, though under vastly different circumstances. Please allow me to explain.
For several months now I’ve been writing a monthly article in the magazine section of The Jewish Press entitled “By The Light of the Moon,” alerting readers to the oncoming Shabbos Mevorchim and ensuing day or days of Rosh Chodesh.
To my distress, it wasn’t until the paper was out in print that I discovered I had erred with the date and the number of days Rosh Chodesh (Adar 2) would fall on.
Moreover perplexing was how this could have possibly occurred, since the first thing I do in advance of preparing the article is look up the exact timing on both our Hebrew and English calendars and literally note the date and days on my desktop Stickies for immediate and ready access.
Reliable‘s letter jogged my memory and I suddenly recalled being interrupted while immersed in accurately listing the relevant days in my article. As the fog lifted, I also clearly remembered making a mental note not to forget to finish the incomplete sentence.
But of course when I next found some quiet time to write, the unfinished part totally escaped me and I got right down to the rest of the piece since the deadline for submission had almost passed.
Yes, we are all rushed and constantly preoccupied with one task or another, while at the same time filing mental notes to do this, remember that, not to forget, etc., etc. And, as you put it in your response to Reliable, sometimes we are meant to mess up.
Since I am known to be fastidious to the point of driving others batty, I will take this as a divine message to tone it down and to accept that as humans we are a fallible lot. Thank you for relieving some of my anxiety (by jogging my memory) and for the lesson in humility. I hope readers will forgive my faux pas.
Trust me when I say I know exactly how you feel and where you are coming from. The irony is that perfectionists are hardest on themselves. Hey, look at the bright side – at least you picked the month of Adar to play the drunkard in.
Just kidding. To err is human, but it takes true grit to admit it, say you’re sorry and move on. And if you think it is you who can use a lesson in humility, read on…
Please do not be offended when I say it feels kind of strange to be asking you for advice. The only other woman I have ever felt comfortable sharing my space with, if you will, is the one who takes pride in my appearance and busies herself creating the nurturing and orderly environment I reside in.
That said, I must also confess that I am usually on top of things and ahead of the game. So why am I bothering with a “Dear Rachel” letter, you might ask. It is the mere thought of Purim… At other holidays and joyful events I hold up quite admirably, but Purim makes me quiver. With all the hullabaloo and hoopla, I inevitably find myself jostled, thrown about, and crudely thrust upon people I dread connecting with.
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