“It Could Always Be Worse”

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INSIGHT OUT By Adina Morris

Do you remember the old children’s story, “It could always be worse?” It is the folktale where a man goes to the Rabbi complaining about his crowded too small house and noisy children and lack of money. The Rabbi instructs him to go home and move his chicken into his home to live with them. The next week the man returns to the Rabbi complaining that things are worse! The Rabbi then instructs the man to go home and bring the donkey into his home to live with them. Each week the man returns to the Rabbi complaining that things are worse. And each week the Rabbi instructs the man to bring another animal into his home to live with them. Finally the Rabbi has him bring in his cow and the man comes back completely put out! He can not live another minute in his house like this! The Rabbi then instructs the man to go home and take all of the animals out of his home. The man obediently does as he is told. The following week, the man returns to the Rabbi all smiles and positively aglow! The man waxes poetic about his luxurious and spacious home that is so pleasant and peaceful.

The man had not moved, nor had he remodeled his home to make it larger to accommodate his large family, nor had he done anything different than when he first came to the Rabbi broken and complaining the many weeks prior.

The difference was that he now appreciated what he had because there weren’t all of the noisy and smelly animals living with them anymore! Oh how to appreciate what we have!

So, I did not bring animals into my home, however, our house has been upside down for the last five months with us living out of three supplies boxes instead of fully equipped kitchen. BH I am grateful to say that our kitchen was ready in time for Pesach! It was 48 hours prior to Pesach, but it could have been worse;)

I cannot express adequately the sheer joy of being reunited with our familiar items! Back in came our fridge, our ovens and stove top! Our dishwasher and sink! Our table and chairs and all of our glorious pots, pans, dishes and cutlery! Not only did we truly appreciate the simple pleasures in a functioning kitchen this Pesach, it was much more than that.

On our first Shabbos of quiet after the busyness of Yom Tov, I was serving the soup when one of the kids said to me, “wow! It’s like our first normal Shabbos with our new kitchen! Is it a better kitchen for you, Ma?” I stopped and I looked around at our beautiful new kitchen and all of our possessions within it. How grateful I felt! But even more so I responded the following:

Our kitchen is a Bracha from Hashem, that without His maneuverings, we never would have been able to do on our own. I feel truly blessed to have been bestowed such a gift. It is so much more efficient and practical than our old kitchen and it is laid out much better for someone with my height and bad back! It is truly a pleasure to cook and be in! But I want you all to know something. If we had moved into the house with a brand new gorgeous kitchen like this, I would have loved it! But I would have also taken it for granted and not appreciated how amazing it is. Why? Because I would not have known what it could have been like. I would not have known that sometimes there are inefficient kitchen layouts that make meal prep double the work, that put strain on your back and make your every day more complicated. However, because I had a kitchen that did all of those things, I appreciate my new kitchen all the more. I lived and functioned in the previous kitchen for 17 years and now I have a new one that was made to fit me and how I cook and bake. What a gift!

In life we sometimes go through difficult challenges and it is trying and draining. Yet, when the pressure is alleviated and we have smooth sailing once again, we are so much more appreciative of our peaceful every day.

When things go smoothly, it is easy to take for granted all of the blessings in our lives, the relationships and connections we have with loved ones and friends, the job that we are so well suited for and our good health. We might even start to think that all of these things are great because we are so good and are deserving, and we put things on auto-pilot and do not invest the much needed time and energy to preserve and strengthen the relationships and priorities that are so important to us in our lives.

The challenges we may experience can be great wake up calls for us to remember not to take for granted all of the blessings we have in our lives. But Oh, if we could only truly appreciate all of the blessings in our lives and maybe we wouldn’t need these reminders to be appreciative!

Our experience over the last five months has definitely allowed me to appreciate our new kitchen all the more, however, I hope that it will also allow me to take stock of all the blessings I have in my life life and not allow any of my most valued relationships and priorities to run on auto-pilot. Rather, I hope it will heighten my senses to take extra care of each of them, just as I am careful to keep my new kitchen looking new beyond the first month! #Appreciation