Every person strives to achieve a happy and successful life. From our earliest memories, we can recall our parents, siblings, friends, and teachers all encouraging us to be the best we can be at whatever we set out to do – aspire to be the best student, athlete, or musician, to graduate with honors and be loved by all our teachers and rabbis. In other words, strive to be perfect. Of course, no will say those exact words to you: “Son/daughter, be perfect,” but what it boils down to is, in fact, just that.
It’s natural for us to want the best for ourselves and our family – there is nothing wrong with that. But what is the message that we are passing down to the next generation? When something doesn’t work out for us, what’s our reaction? Do we only see the hardship? Or can we look around and see the good through the darkness? Do we see all the precious moments in our lives? Or are we just concerned with the big picture?
Life is made up of years, months, days, hours, and minutes. Each person has his path to walk on and work that he must get done. When each holiday passes we sometimes feel a void inside, an emptiness that was filled with all the happiness and joy of that holiday. We go back to our daily activities and feel something missing. Usually we fill it with work, school, and whatever we are used to doing. During the holidays, there is a magical feeling in the air, special mitzvot to keep, special prayers. And now that it’s over, what will take its place? Routine? Boredom? Plainness?
This is when we must focus our thoughts and actions into creating special moments within our everyday schedules. When we wake up in the morning, we can see how healthy we are, and if we are not in the best of health, we can see that many people love us. We can smile at a neighbor on our way to work, and we can look up at the pretty skies and marvel at G-d’s creation. This type of behavior will enable us to always look beyond ourselves, beyond our regular routine. Even if you are in a rush, you’ll notice others who might need a helping hand. Your thoughts become not only about you and what you must do. By looking around you at all times, you end up living many beautiful moments.
Sometimes you are having a bad day. Nothing seems to be going as you expected. And then you see someone at work or school who needs help with something and you help them out. It might only take a minute or two, but you just created a special moment in your day. You would be surprised at how many special moments you really have every day – letting someone go in front of you in line or on the road, and smiling as you leave your home at those who love you so much instead of rushing out the door without even looking back.
Hashem in His infinite wisdom created people to live alongside other people. We don’t live on a deserted island. We live among people, family, and friends. Our existence is very important, even if we might live alone. When you walk down the street and you give a good word or a smile to someone, or you pick up something that fell from a shelf in a supermarket, all these moments are what really make up our minutes, hours, days, months, and years.
Sometimes we might feel worthless, unimportant, unproductive. When you feel that way, simply look around and see how you can create a “moment.” How can you turn an ordinary day into a lot of special moments? You just have to look around you. Hashem creates these moments everywhere. It’s our job to notice them and make them ours.
This kind of life and message is one that each of us can pass on. These moments make the world go round. They are the essence of chesed. It is written in the Torah, “Olam chesed yibaneh,” the world is built on chesed, which means giving of oneself to others.
One might think that this giving must be in major activities and time-consuming events. That is not the case. The moments I have described are all ways of giving. They are all chesed. Appreciate that you are alive in no matter what situation, and G-d will send you special moments. Don’t let them pass you by because that is what life is all about – the moments we don’t let slip by.
Give to others and your regular days will be filled with light, happiness, and wonderful moments that make this a better world to live in.