Of Wires, Cables and Cell Phones
On Saturday night, the worst possible thing that could ever happen to a writer in full on writing mode happened…Ok, maybe not the worst thing, but it was pretty bad. I was tearing through the research for my latest piece (an untitled manuscript which we shall not discuss as of yet. Norman Mailer once said that talking about an unfinished manuscript is like exposing a love affair. So, I’m gonna keep this one to myself for now, thanksmuch) when I noticed my computer battery dying. No problem, I thought, as I reached under my bed for my charger. I plugged in the charger and got up for a momentary stretch before getting back to work. While I was getting up, I accidentally kicked the wire (of course I would), and the charger came flying out. Que the horror movie music: The charger snapped in half, leaving half of the wire connected to the computer while the other half fell back under my bed. I spent the first thirty seconds cussing myself for being so clumsy, while a million thoughts swirled around in my head. This was the last thing I wanted to add to an already busy weekend schedule. Now I’d have to schlep my laptop with me to my teaching job in Long Island, then into the city where I had a million other things to do before a late evening appointment at the Apple Store, which would alter my plans to have dinner with my friends. To tell you that this stupid wire brought on an anxiety attack would be an understatement. When you’re wired (no pun intended) to look at everything as a problem, as I usually tend to do, there’s no end to the amount of damage something so small could cause.
I was worried about the damage I had caused, the amount I would have to pay to get a new charger (seriously, I spent the entire LIRR ride factoring in this cost to my budget to see if I could afford to pay for a new one)…The worries and what ifs were taking up free rent in my brain and driving me crazy. I decided that I needed to switch gears and see the positive in this situation, as frustrating and difficult as it was. I’ve been training my brain to see the hashgacha pratis (divine providence) in the every day occurrences in my life. I’d like to think that it relieves the extreme anxiety I tend to feel when things don’t work out the way I had planned. I look for the smallest connections with which to sooth my soul. It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s never easy. I like when things go MY WAY. I like when my plans align perfectly, when the people I make plans with stick to the plans that I made, and things run smoothly. Let’s get real though, things don’t tend to happen the way we plan them. Ever. I cannot think of a single time that I’ve arranged for something to happen, and it has played out exactly as I’ve expected it to (ah, expectation, the root of all heartache). So, I’ve learned to look for the hashgacha pratis in the hiccups and bumps in my plans. When something doesn’t go the way I want it to, instead of freaking out (which, I have to admit, is easier), I just look at it as hasgacha pratis and try to understand that HaShem’s plan is the best plan, even though it doesn’t always look like that. You hear stories of incredible hashgacha pratis left and right, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll always see the positive side of things. So, that’s what I did on Sunday. I looked at is as HP that I had to take time out of my day that I needed for other things to go hang out at the Apple Store for two hours while they fixed my charger. And off I went…
When the genius at the Genius bar finally came around to help me, I figured that I would take advantage of the opportunity and tell her about the problems that my other devices were having. My iPhone has been acting up as well, so I casually mentioned it to her while she plied the piece of the charger out of my laptop. She asked me if I was still under warranty, and Thank G-d I was. New charger? Check! New phone? Check! It’s a seemingly insignificant story, but a matter of hasgacha pratis nonetheless. Something that looked bad (broken charger), ended up working out for the best (new charger, new phone!). On my way home, I decided to apply the lesson of my time spent at the Apple Store to other things happening in my life:
Sometimes, things happen that suck. Like, really SUCK. But, perhaps, that same thing could lead to something better and happier. There have been so many things happening in my life lately that, at first glance, look like the end of the world. Little road bumps don’t look that little when you magnify them and nit pick every minor detail. Look at these things with a kinder, softer eye. Everything is HP. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we see the reason, sometimes we don’t. One thing’s for sure: Life is so much more exciting and fulfilling when you see the divine in the mundane things around you. A charger and a phone are pretty mundane, but, at the end of the day, they taught me a pretty divine lesson. HaShem runs the world, and we just like to think that we have a say in everything and anything that happens to us. Every event that happens to us is HaShem’s way of sending us a message, paving our path to tap into our greatest, highest potential.
The next time that something seemingly bad happens to you, look for the divine in it. Look for the soul in the mundane, every day occurrences of your life. Look for the spark, look for the light. Look for HaShem, and He’ll be there. Yes, even in a broken laptop wire.