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How many songs and stories have been written about love and joy? On the other hand how many have been written of pain and sorrow?

Everyone loves a good love story but which can we relate to better, the happy stories or to the sad ones?

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Since the beginning of time life is full of challenges as well as joy and happiness. The great King Solomon in the book of Mishlei wrote that it’s better to go to the home of the mourner than to the home of the feasting.

Who wouldn’t prefer a beautiful bride over a crying widow? However, we are here on earth, to grow and to become closer to Hashem and to fulfill our purpose in this world. It is also written in Psalms, that G-d is close to those with the broken heart.

The opposite ends of love and joy, to pain and sorrow are great. We tend to live somewhere in the middle between great joy and great pain.

Yesterday I experienced these two extremes. In the morning I was sent to bring food to an extremely poor family. As I entered their home I could barely believe what I saw. There were many children at home, not dressed very well, their faces were very sad, and their hearts seemed to be empty of hope for anything good.

The fridge was completely empty, and the hunger and pain on their faces were simply pitiful. I smiled at them and showed them the packages of food that were sent to them, and they could not believe their eyes. The sad faces turned quickly into smiles, and the disbelief that anything good could ever come their way, was replaced with love and laughter. They hugged me as if I were the king of the world, giving them life in a place of pain and sorrow.

From there I continued on to visit someone very close to my heart who was in the hospital.

There was so much darkness. I felt so bad for him. I tried to relay hope and love, but the room was filled with a shattered heart. The pain I saw in his face, the sadness that was felt, left me broken inside more than one can imagine.

I left the hospital and looked up at the sky, I tried to receive some comfort from above; I tried to believe in my heart that Hashem, has a special path for each and every one of us.

From this trying and emotional visit, I then set forth to an engagement celebration of a close friend a few hours away.

The drastic change was extreme. Lights flashing everywhere, fancy clothes, valet parking and food that could feed an army. I was so overwhelmed with the emotional events of the day, that I could barely speak. As the loud music played and the people danced, pictures of my day flashed into my mind.

I thought of the empty fridge I saw earlier in the day, and the sadness of my loved one, in the hospital room, just a few hours earlier. The extremes were shouting out at me, as I tried to relate to the event I was at.

The bride to be, looked like a million dollars, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. The room was decorated with a sparkling background that was exquisite. The tables were set for a feast fit for the queen herself. The dancing and laughter that filled the air, gave me some strength and helped me forget for a bit, how heavy my heart was feeling.

I drove home tired and full of thoughts. Love, joy, pain and sorrow, I was feeling all these thoughts at once. Is it possible?

The words of King Solomon echoed in my heart. Was it better to visit my loved one in despair? How long would the food last for those hungry children? When would the happiness and laughter of that shiny event wear off?

I had no answers, but I was thankful to Hashem that he gave me a big heart, to endure all that he sends my way.

May we see G-d in everything we do, and may we grow closer to Him, in the experiences we are sent. And may Hashem fix all the broken hearts, including His own, and make them whole forever.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com