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This Isn’t the Life I Ordered

May 18, 2017 | by Emuna Braverman

You may be right. But it’s the one you’ve got and it’s your job to make the best of it.

“This Isn’t the Life I Ordered” was the title of a class my daughter attended the other night. Just hearing the title jolted me back to reality.

Life is not a Disney story and God is not our fairy godmother making all of our wishes come true. As soon as we let go of that fantasy, we can come to terms with what we have been given.

I don’t mean this in a begrudging sense; I mean that we can truly recognize all the good the Almighty has given us and stop longing for something else.

How often do we say that this isn’t how we imagined our lives would turn out? Rarely is that stated with awe and wonder. It’s said too frequently with regret and disappointment.

Life is so much better in our fantasies, our imaginings, our dreams than it is in our very real here and now (or so we tell ourselves).

But that’s actually impossible. Because it violates so many basis tenets of Jewish understanding, beginning with the fact that the Almighty loves us and wants to give us good. And on to the idea that He could give us anything He (or we) wants, and if He thought it was to our benefit, we would have it.

It must be – wait for it, drum roll please – that my dream of how my life would be improved is just flat-out wrong. Wow.

Many of us know that. We understand that God is all kindness and all good. We recognize that the Almighty doesn’t have a finite pie to be split among all his many supplicants. He could give us anything. If we don’t have it, not only do we not need it, it may in fact be damaging to us.

We are able to tone down the voice but it’s still whispering, “This isn’t the life I ordered.” It sneaks in and catches us unawares and drags us down.

We need to fight fire with fire. “You’re right,” we must respond. “It isn’t the life I ordered. But it’s the one I’ve got. And my job is to make the best of it.”

In fact, if I’m really attuned to the workings of my Creator, I’d acknowledge that not only is it the one I’ve got but because of the Source, it must actually be better than the life of my dreams.

It’s hard to get there. It’s even harder to stay there! It’s hard to accept this. It’s hard to let go – of long-held imaginings, of the belief that we know best.

But the recognition that the life we have is superior to the one we ordered is freeing and empowering – and can lead to joy, born of the confidence that the Almighty who loves me and runs the show has given me the perfect tools to lead the best life possible. Wasn’t that what I was ordering anyway?

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