I’ve been silent for a while, contemplating my own personal storm that was shaking up my little world when I began to see pictures yesterday of a real storm, one that has displaced so many people, the storm down in Houston, Texas. Seeing that level of devastation puts my own storm into a much more proper perspective. My home is safe and sound as are my loved ones. I remember living in Florida when tropical storms would roll through and the mess that they can make, but I never had to survive a storm like the people in Houston are now facing.
It also brought to mind that moment after the storm passes, when people begin to come back or come out of their homes and survey the damage, taking stock of what is now lost and what remains and beginning to clean up and make plans to rebuild. This always happens after physical storms and I think there is a similar process after the smaller storms in our lives.
After our big news last week, we’ve begun that process in our own lives.
One thing I quickly realized was that more is left intact than was damaged or put into danger. I also realized that, regardless, our path forward is still pretty much the same. We need to keep learning and growing and somehow, someday, the conversion process will catch up with us. In the meantime, our Rabbi is working on finding us a new Beit Din (Rabbinical Court) to work with, so there will likely be paperwork to fill out and new directives to follow.
After a storm passes, there is a lot that isn’t certain and the only choice is really to focus on what is. You pick up tree limbs and clean up debris and there is a comfort in doing something that seems to help fix what is broken around you. People come together in the wake of a storm, helping each other. Right now, we don’t know how all this will affect our move or our future. We don’t know if our children will be in day schools next year or not or even if we’ll have to move to a completely different community to finish our conversion. Very little is certain, so my husband and I talk after the kids are asleep and we focus on what is certain and what we can do. We can move forward with the kids’ education as if they will be in day schools next year. We can continue with our own learning as if we will need to be fully observant by this time next year. We can continue preparing our house for sale and our belongings for a move even if we’re no longer sure where we’re moving to.
And, of course, we can continue davening, since all this is in Hashem’s hands.
Hashem wouldn’t have allowed the storm to come if He didn’t already have a plan for what would come after. For now, it’s enough for us to focus on what is right in front of us and just keep moving forward and finding the beauty around us.
As if on queue, we saw more moose this weekend than we have in weeks. All were mothers with twin calves, a sign of abundance since moose will only have twins when there is plenty for them to eat. These mothers were busy with their calves eating as much as they could before winter sets in. They weren’t trying to avoid the coming snows or worrying about them or overthinking what they might do. They were so intently focused on what they needed to do, right at this moment, that they scarcely noticed us.
Whatever our own personal storm brings us, we can only have a similar kind of faith and simply focus on what we need to do in the present and let Hashem handle the future.