Strangely, life is very good right now. Like very, very good. Despite a Pandemic raging the world in a way that is unprecedented over the last century, the economy teetering, and a lot of questions about the state of the world we live in, I have come to really appreciate this new reality we find ourselves in. While praying fervently for it to end, and for those who are afflicted, my own life is, to be frank, blissful. One friend who concurred with my sentiments, labels this time as a nice, long, extended staycation. I have lunch every afternoon with my loving wife and kids. I haven’t paid for gas in six weeks. I suddenly have more time and headspace for gnarly projects, like writing a blog, reading books that improve my work habits, and hone my professional skillz. True, I am stuck indoors, but being stuck in Denver Colorado, the most beautiful city this side of Jerusalem is not too shabby. I could, for example, be stuck in Cleveland, Detroit, or Houston.
Everything is actually amazing. Well actually, almost everything. This afternoon when I walked outside to my backyard I was mortified. Amid my beautiful green, freshly mowed lawn were disgusting yellow dandelions, spreading like a wild fire in the swamplands of Sri Lanka. Yellow, ugly dandelions growing wilder than my mullet in the back of my head. And I became sad. Very, very sad.
I was instantly reminded of a fascinating, mind blowing incident recorded in the Book of Esther. The evil scoundrel Haman, whose life mission was to annihilate the Jewish people had a pretty decent life. He had tremendous wealth, power and a family who presumably adored him. Yet, the Megillah tells us there was one thing that greatly troubled him: After getting invited to Queen Esther’s party, and feeling rather jolly about himself, the Megillah tells us: “And Haman said, “Esther did not even bring anyone to the party except for me, and tomorrow also, I am invited to her with the King. BUT all this is worth nothing to me, as long as I see Mordechai the Jew sitting at the gate of the king.”
Let’s unpack this for a second. Haman’s life is going quite well, to say the least. But all of his fame, prestige and success is meaningless, as long as he sees his enemy Mordechai. Ultimately he makes a plan to have Mordechai killed, which ultimately leads to his own downfall. Despite everything good in life, the one negative aspect of his life made him crazy and ultimately led to his dramatic downfall.
Now I am not, G-d forbid comparing myself to the evil Haman, nor the righteous Mordechai to dandelions. But I believe the lesson is still very powerful. In life for many of us, we are surrounded by an abundance of good. We live with so many blessings; enumerating them and counting them almost limits and diminishes them. They are constant and unending. There a few unfortunate things as well. Like dandelions.
We are blessed, however, in the ability to choose what to focus on. We can focus on the dandelions, and be sad and depressed like a middle child who wants the same size cookie as his older sister . Or, we can focus on the green grass, which far outnumbers those dandelions.
Our job, is to train our eyes to see the abundant, lush grass, and to bask in its beauty.