He told me a Chasidic story about a man who cherished the one item left to him after his beloved father died—his father’s gold watch. Every day he would look lovingly at it and then put carefully away. One day, though, he couldn’t find it. He looked everywhere; needing to find it took his whole attention and nothing else mattered. After all, beyond the value of the gold watch, it was his father’s memory that he had misplaced. Finally, in utter despair, he gave up looking for the watch. He completely bared his soul, and beseeched God to help him.
“Why have You hidden the watch from me? My life is nothing without it.” And…then the watch dropped from above right onto the table in front of him.A couple of weeks later, I wrote my Spiritual Director this message:
Shavua tov, I hope you are doing well and found good things, especially to eat, over Pesach...
I wanted to check in this morning, after many thoughts to do so over the past few weeks, after our last meeting. Many things have shifted and I feel I am entering some new territory. I hope this check in is helpful for you too.
When I awoke the morning after our SD together, I recalled the prayer for gratitude and insight we’d closed with. Then, when I got up, I could not find my eyeglasses. That’s very unusual, there are very few places in my apartment they could be. Right away, everything felt like the story you told me about the man who couldn’t find his father’s gold watch. I sat down and thought about how I may be doing too much and not fully allowing them to register, only the actions and outcomes.
I stopped looking for the glasses and decided that insight was the only way to get answers now. I came back to my centre for a while and waited.
Then I knew: the glasses were not really gone anywhere, maybe it was me. Doing many meaningful things, and naïvely trying to control all their outcomes.
I sat with the not new knowledge that it was once again time to allow myself the grace to let go of the control method of navigating my life, and let God, or insight, or wisdom guide me. Then came a place of calm, much like being in the eye of a storm;
and then the storm also passed. You’ve probably guessed that when I got up from my chair, the glasses were easily found. It was time to let go of the many stuck places I was in, and find better places to be. Suddenly, it was easy to know what to hang onto, and what I could let go of or replace.
Each morning, I’m waking in gratitude, or returning to deep gratitude; and as in the prayer you offered, take each step of the day with the possibility that it may hold insight or guidance, or wisdom.
This is very liberating: I’m finding a context for what I do now. Of course, that means entering new territory. My experience in hiking tells me to take my steps with deliberation and intention at this time, watching for loose rocks and bared roots while enjoying the embracing landscape.”
What have you lost lately…or better yet, what have you found?