I’ll give you a second to come up with your best excuses—although we’ve outsourced most things to China, we are still great at manufacturing excuses. We so often blame our mothers, our circumstances, our height, our looks, our upbringing, our spouses, our society etc., for what we’ve become and who we are. But my question still stands: Why aren’t you everything you could be? Who really is to blame for what we are not? Each one of us has a unique talent. Yet, so many of us have an unrequited dream of what we could have been and what we yet can be. It’s quite unfortunate that while our aspirations have taken us to ambitious heights, our excuses keep us strapped to the TV-room couch or the therapist’s. Click to subscribe
“Well,” you might ask, “aren’t we entitled to have excuses and reasons for why things just can’t be, after all, we are human?” For the moment, I’ll curb my tongue and let Adrianne Haslet-Davis answer that question. No, she is not a famous psychologist or philosopher on life, but she should be. She’s not pontificating from the self-inflated towers of academia, but from a hospital bed. Adrianne Haslet-Davis, is the 32 year-old dancer who lost her foot in the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. She told the Boston Herald, “I can’t let some (expletive) come along and steal my whole life," she said. "So, I’ll dance again. And next year, though I’ve never been a runner, yes, I plan to run the marathon." How can anyone more boldly teach us that when life kicks your teeth in, we bravely must keep on smiling?
An interesting detail stood out for me while watching the news coverage of the bombing. Forensic experts explained that even the impact of such a huge explosion would not erase the DNA evidence of the perpetrators. It dawned on me that even the potency of such a murderous device cannot destroy the fundamentals of who we are. A true dancer will still be a dancer even without a foot.
It is precisely because we are humans that we are NOT entitled to excuses. It is because we humans are made in G-d’s image that we have no right to give up on our own potential no matter how hard things are or what we’ve been through. Our soul attaches us to an infinite source where all things are possible while we are still in the land of the living. And just as a bomb can't blow up DNA, we can't let life's hardships blow us apart either. Yet, sadly, many of us cut off our own potential and terrorize ourselves into not doing things that we really can do and should do. The most important and impactful words in history were passed along to humanity, not by a skilled orator, but rather by a man who had a speech impediment: Moses. A true leader will lead even with a stuttering tongue.
Interestingly, the Torah calls Israel the Land of Milk and Honey. Yet, I’m sure the pioneers who got malaria and broke their backs tilling a parched desert had a few other names for it. Still, 65 years later Israel has become one of the most innovative countries in the world spreading its technologies and medical advancements across the globe. A desert was turned into verdant fields of opportunity. A true land of milk and honey will flourish and bloom even where there is ruin, rock and rubble.
Perfection my friends is not the starting point, it is mankind’s ever evasive destination. Don’t be afraid to try and get started because you’re not perfect. We are all broken one way or another. Just recognize your G-dly partner in life and then the only thing you will not be able to do is to manufacture more excuses. Click to subscribe
In this week’s Torah reading we read about priests who are disqualified from serving in the Temple because they had a blemish. But the Zohar teaches that the disabled have greater merit than the rest of us; and for precisely this reason they cannot work in the Temple.1
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