Everyone knows the feeling you get when you want to do something you can’t do. There is always that temptation to do – especially because you know you can’t. Or sometimes it’s because you want to prove you can. Sometimes it’s because people expect it of you. Sometimes it’s a combination.
This feeling is common in skill related sports. When working out with a friend you may want to stay in the gym longer than her just to show how serious you are about exercising. When ice skating with your friends, you try going even faster and doing even cooler tricks to show how great an ice skater you are. This goes for everything; just think about it, you’re for sure guilty too.
So now put yourself in this situation. It’s a cold February day. You’re skiing with your younger brother. And your younger brother isn’t afraid of anything. And your younger brother happens to be a really good skier. Your brother easily skis down the steep black diamond trials while you cautiously make your way down, a little behind him.
So now picture this. Your younger brother proposes that you try a double black. You know you shouldn’t risk it. But there’s something so enticing. How much harder can it be, you ask yourself. And you can’t be the coward next to your younger brother. So you agree. So those of you who ski, understand that the steeper the trial the harder it is to slow down. The harder it is to slow down the less control you have. And without control you can’t stop, can’t turn, and can’t prevent your crashing into people, trees or any other object that might be on a ski trail.
Now put yourself on the trail. You gingerly slide down the slippery snow. You try not to gain too much speed. You turn carefully; you zigzag perfectly and try erasing all fear from your mind. And then there’s that bump you didn’t expect. You begin accelerating; then there’s that familiar sense of no balance. And that inevitable crushing feeling. You try catching yourself with your poles. And you try avoiding the ice patch ahead of you. You can’t catch yourself. You can’t slow down. And you fall, just like you thought you would. Your skis falls off, you try grabbing it before it slides down the slope. But you failed. You lay down on the snow annoyed at yourself. Your brother is already too far to hear you. You’re staring at the blue sky through your tinted goggles. You take a deep breath and sit back up. “Hashem please help me,” you mutter.
Almost instantly you hear the familiar sound of scraping skis carving down the trail. You see the expert skier coming down towards you. You know he’s just going to try avoiding you. . But instead he stops and asks you if you’re okay. You say you are and he notices your ski lying at the bottom of the trial.
“Lost a ski?” he asks.
“Yeah,” you admit.
“Hey girl, you stay here and I’ll go down and get it for you,” he says without thinking twice.
“No it’s okay,” you insist but he won’t let that stop him. And when he expertly makes his way down the trail and gets your ski and then climbs back up to give it to you everything suddenly makes so much sense. You thank him a million times and he insists it was nothing though you know it’s hard to walk up a double black diamond trail especially in ski boots. But you’re thinking how Hashem won’t let you down. You might have had some ego issues and you were afraid to admit that you might not be able to successfully ski a double black trail but Hashem is still going to help you.
You realize that when someone passes you and sees you hopelessly giving up they usually carelessly pass by. How many people would stop and actually help you? How many people actually go through the trouble of climbing up a steep slippery trail just to help you? Only a person who values others. A person who sees past your failure and recognizes you need a helping hand. You don’t need to be Jewish or religious to see that. And the man on Bellayre Mountain taught me that every person has a Tzelem Elokim. Every person needs an act of chesed whether they ask for it or not. Every person is special, holding part of Hashem in them. Every person deserves to feel that warmth – even on a cold ski trail.Alti Bukalov