Happy With What We Have
I hope everyone had a wonderful, meaningful Rosh Hashanah. I spent my holiday in Providence with wonderful friends. The community there is wonderful - it's a little, tight-knit community where everyone knows each other. And they also know who's a visitor, because it's a new face. I was warmly welcomed by many members of the community there, and all in all, it was a great way to start the new year.
A few weeks ago, I hurt my foot. Actually, it was hurting for a while before that, but one morning I woke up in a lot of pain, barely able to put any weight down on my foot, which makes it a bit difficult to walk. After visits to my general practitioner (for a referral) and a podiatrist (boy that made me feel old!), it was determined that walking for miles through Manhattan in flip flops is not the best idea if you want to be able to continue to walk. (What women do for fashion!)
Since then, my footwear selection has both expanded and been restricted greatly. Restricted because I am now forced to wear the small variety of shoes that actually are supportive of my feet. And expanded because, due to the few pairs of shoes I have that are good for my feet, I decided it was time to invest in a bunch of cool socks.
One thing that frustrates me greatly is being limited. So, for the past few weeks, I have been frustrated both by the fact that I can't wear the shoes I want to wear (which also restricts the outfits I choose) and the fact that I can't just walk and do all the activities I am accustomed to and feel like doing. For example, the other night I went for a walk with a friend to get some air and exercise, and I was forced to slow us down several times from a pace that normally would have been slow to start with.
I feel like I should be able to look at this with gratitude - it's a fairly small thing, it's good to wear supportive shoes anyway (I do only have one pair of feet), and at least my pain has greatly subsided (though it continues to persist slightly). But to me, it's just annoying that every morning I have to put pads on my feet, make sure I have some socks handy (and that they match) and then I have to choose from the two pairs of shoes that aren't really my favorites (ok, sometimes I cheat, but I pay for it).
Why can't I look on the bright side of things and see all the myriad activities that I still can do? Why can't I be grateful that this episode led only to non-favorite shoes rather than surgery (which I am terrified of)?
In some ways, I think this is natural. Look at prayer. Yes, we thank G-d for the many things that we have. But I, and I assume most people I know, also ask for many things that we don't have. No matter how much we obtain, there is always something more that we feel we need. Is there ever a way to just be happy with what we have?
I guess in a way, I'm lucky. Because of the pain in my feet, hopefully I will be able to appreciate it when I am no longer in pain and I can wear whatever shoes I want (though I will probably be more wary in the future when I buy shoes). And I will be able to appreciate something that most people take for granted (and that I know I did before this) - being able to walk without restriction. But will I take away the greater lesson - to not desire what I don't have? And to know that whatever Hashem gives us is what we need, and no more.