Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Life is challenging for everyone. The real challenge is, what is our reaction to these tests? And how do we get through them?

Tests come in all shapes and sizes and don’t pass anyone by. We are all tested. The challenges don’t have to be grand in order to be considered a test. Even the smallest amount of aggravation we have in a day is considered a test. So how do we go about passing these tests in the proper manner?

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After the fact, we are all geniuses and have the best advice to offer ourselves and others: “You should have said this, you should have done that.” “I’m so foolish that I said that and that I acted with such hastiness.” With time, we do learn from some of our mistakes, and yet sometimes we repeat the same mistakes over and over until we get it right.

I believe that the more conscious we are of our surroundings and what goes on in our daily lives, the more we will be able to think before we speak or react, and at least we will learn the first time around so we don’t make the same mistake twice.

This world is a circle, and usually what goes around comes around. We might not always see the full circle in our lives, but it exists. There is a Master of the world who was, is, and always will be forever. He sees all of our actions and writes them all down. And He always pays us back for our actions, good and bad. We don’t always see the payment, but it always comes.

Thinking about all of our troubles or tests will not help us. Gloom and depression don’t solve anything. But taking one step at a time, just today, will usually get us through the day – and more than that, it will get us through the day healthier and happier. The best way to be able to withstand all our tests is to live by the motto “Be good, see good.”

The other day I parked my car in a certain place and came back a few hours later to find a note on my car. It read as follows: “Hi, my name is Meira and I bumped into your car as I was leaving my parking spot. The damage doesn’t look too bad. However, this is my number if you want to call me.” I was shocked. I looked at the scrapes and damage on my car and was amazed that had she left a note. Of course it was the right thing to do, but how many of us would have left a note in that situation?

I called her to touch base and told her that I would go to the garage within the next few days and then be in touch with her. She seemed polite and agreeable. I was still nervous that the next time she wouldn’t answer my phone now that she knew it was me. We are living in times when we always assume someone is out to get us or trick us. We are afraid that someone will cheat us or lie to us just to get an extra dollar out of it.

True, there are still many good and honest people around. Yet especially in this era, we have lost touch with others, and trust today seems to be a thing of the past. Today we deal more with computers and less with people. And when we deal with people we are very cautious.

Back to the nice lady who left a note on my car. It took a few days and I called her with a reasonably small amount that the repairs would cost. This time it was her turn to be shocked. She said, “Is that all? I was sure that you were going to stick me with a bigger amount, claiming that the damage was greater than you thought, only to get away with cheating me into paying a larger sum of money. I see these situations all the time.”

I told her, “When you left the note on my car, I was shocked that someone cared enough to leave their number. I was equally surprised when you responded positively to paying the damages. You see, Meira, when a person does good, then good follows them in return. Your intentions were good, so G-d sent you someone with good intentions as well. We can’t change the world, but we can certainly be good and do good, and that good will always come back to us and greet us with a smile.”

This was a small test with a small amount of aggravation, but it had a big lesson to help us build strength and integrity for the next challenge that G-d might send our way.

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