I was standing outside the orthodontist’s office today (I finished with my Invisalign and was getting my attachments off-very exciting, I had kinda forgotten what it felt like to have regular shaped teeth in the eight spots that had attachments on them) and a lady driving by rolled down her window and asked me where the playground was. She had kids in the car, so I guess someone had told her that there’s a nice playground in a certain very large park, so she was going to bring them there. I directed her to take the first left, and an immediate right after that. She took the left, and, at least from what I could tell, she didn’t make the right. I could see why she would miss it, the street she was supposed to turn right on was on a slant, and it’s right next to a parking lot, so she may have thought that was the parking lot entrance. Then I realized that if she kept driving to the other end of the park, two things could happen. She could a) miss the playground/park altogether b) make the second right turn which led to a different playground, which is nice, but doesn’t have all the special extras the other one has . So I felt bad. The playground so nice, and relatively new. She’s missing out. Why did I feel upset? It’s not as if I had invested anything more than a few seconds of my time to helping this lady.
As I stood there, I realized this has got to be a mashal (parable) for something. Then I thought of it.
Hashem gave us a manual. Sure, the instructions are more difficult to follow than first left and then second right. But He gives us instructions (mitzvos). He tells us how to make our lives meaningful. But sometimes, we don’t try so hard, and we space out, so we end up in a nice park, but missing out on the swings and the fire engine and picnic tables. Reshaim (evildoers–not regular people like us) miss the park completely. Hashem wants us to succeed. He really does. He loves us and created the world so we could have pleasure, true pleasure, which comes from being close to Him, and He gives us the tools to do that. He gives us more chances, because wants us to earn our reward. Yet, it’s not as if Hashem invested money in us. Hashem is omnipotent. He has the power to do anything, but nothing he does diminishes what He is able to do. It’s not like G-d runs out of money (He doesn’t need it) or time. But He is investing in us, by loving us, and He sincerely desires that we make the right turns.
I’m not writing this because I think I’m perfect. I’m writing this as an encouragement for myself, to try to put in the effort to get to the right park, and I thought I would share it. Remember that Hashem loves you and wants you to make the right turns.
P.S. Of course, mistakes happen and sometimes we don’t try our hardest. But that’s what teshuva (repentance) is for. We can always make a U-turn and get back to where we need to go.