Last week, on a gorgeous Wednesday morning, in the middle of a super-duper important Zoom meeting in which I was meant to present, to my horror, the internet cut out. Like for reals. It wasn’t just the type of thing where the good folks on the meeting froze for a minute, and then miraculously spoke really really fast, and then Zoom notified me that my internet connection is unstable. That is NOT what I am referring to. I mean, the internet just totally went out.
To paraphrase my former college roommate whose name I will change to Javier for the sake of anonymity, “some things in life are good. But this is not one of them.” In a world where the majority of us are still working from home in quarantine, having the internet crash, is, to put it mildly, not so good.
Fortunately for me, my office was not far away, and I would be able to make use of its superior WiFi for a few days until the Century Link man could come by and fix ours.
Inasmuch as we just upgraded, and are paying a bit more per month for our internet service, I, as my momma likes to say, “was fit to be tied.” I was an unhappy customer. I even considered taking to Twitter, (shameless plug alert– follow @dannywolfe1 for life changing tweets) to air my grievances publicly in front of my hundreds of followers against Century Link.
The company could come two days later to fix the problem, on a Friday, and in the mean time, I had the strange experience of having to actually get dressed up, leave my home, and go to the office.
Sure enough, that sunny Friday morning (have I mentioned how awesome it is to live in Denver, which boasts 300 days of sunshine a year) after working in the office for three full days by myself, super socially distanced, I get a call from my wife indicating that the good man with Century Link was able to resolve the problem. “Wow,” exclaimed I, “that seemed pretty quick!” What was the problem???” “Well,” the Better Half said, “if you want to know the truth, the router was unplugged. So he plugged it back in!”
“Wow, good thing I didn’t take to Twitter to publicly shame this company! What great news!”
Then I started philosophizing, as I am want to do, trying to understand the deep inner meaning, or DIM, behind all this, as my legendary English teacher 8-12 grade teacher Mr. Smith* used to say.
The first lesson, which might seem obvious, is that so many times in life, we overthink, and over complicate things, when the answer is very simple, and right there in front of us. In the realm of dating, with all of the dating apps, and all of the possibilities, it is too easy for a person to continue swiping, with the promise that there always might be someone better, just one swipe away. STOP making this harder than it needs to be– the person you are with, or the person right in front of you, might very well be everything that you need and so much more. Metaphorically speaking, you don’t need to call the expert from Century Link, you can figure this out all by yourself, by taking the router, and plugging it back in! So, slow down, and plug back in.
The second lesson is to be slow to judge or criticize others without first taking a deep look inward to see if the problem might be coming from within. How fortunate I was to bite my tongue and not lash out at poor, sweet, innocent, Century Link for all this– the problem here, came from within.
And the third lesson, I believe, is that we all need to plug into something, at sometime. You might have the most sophisticated internet router in the world– as I believe we do. But if it is not plugged in, it aint gonna work. Even cool wireless gadgets like smart phones, iPads, Apple watches, electric razors, or as I know too will, my Dyson cordless vacuum will all eventually run out of battery life if not plugged back in. Everything needs to somehow recharge its batteries, and we humans are no different.
We humans have a lot of remarkable abilities. We are the most sophisticated ‘devices’ known to man; the way our eyes and brains work are truly miraculous. However, like any device, if not plugged in, and if not given the ability to recharge, we will be totally useless. To philosophize for a second: I have a microwave. My microwave can do something truly amazing-unimaginable centuries ago– it can take frozen or cold food, and within minutes, heat it up at a mind-boggling pace. However, if the microwave is not plugged in, just sitting daintily on my counter top, it is utterly useless. It doesn’t function.
I think it behooves us to ask ourselves, as thinking intelligent people: Do we need to plug in also? If so, how? Is there something out there–an outlet– that enables us to function, and operate, and be the most optimal version of ourselves we can be, in a similar way the microwave needs an outlet to plug into? Is there something we can plug into, to recharge our batteries to enable us to continue to function day after every exhausting day?
I reckon the answer might very well be different for all of us. But for me, an observant Jew, studying the Torah is an outlet that I plug into every day that enables me to function, that uplifts me, inspires me, and enables me to be my optimal self. As we approach Shavuos, the holiday in which we celebrate when millions of my ancestors receives the Torah from the Almighty, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have this outlet which I plug into every day, and enables me to function at a high level, living an inspired life.
Blessedly, not only is the Torah one such outlet to plug into, but the Sabbath, (or as I like to say, Shabbos) is as well. After grinding a whole week, working long days, going to sleep very late, and waking up very early, the Sabbath waits lovingly at the end of every week. It is a magnificent day, where we recharge our bodies and souls, basking in spirituality holiness, and G -ds eternal love. We connecting intensely to our families and to our selves. We are gifted the time to reflect on the direction of our lives and on what really matters. Leaving the stresses and anxieties of our work week behind, we are blessed with 25 blissful hours to recharge our batteries, ready to unplug after Shabbos, as powerful, renewed beings.
So next time you are out of steam, unsure why you are not being effective, and not operating efficiently, just remind yourself to plug back in.
*Name changed for anonymity