Keeping Things in Perspective

A few years ago, one of my brothers had just had his fifth baby boy. As luck would have it, his circumcision was scheduled on Yom Kippur. In case you aren’t familiar with Yom Kippur, it is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. It is also called the Day of Atonement and involves not going to work, fasting, and attending synagogue services.
My problem with this situation was that I wouldn’t be able to go to my synagogue as my brother lived about 50 miles away from me and we aren’t permitted to drive on Yom Kippur. That meant that I would be staying at his house and attending his synagogue on this most holy day.
What’s the big deal, you say?
Well, it was to me. I prefer to pray at my own synagogue the same way other religious denominations prefer their own church or temple. I am comfortable there and so that is where I wanted to spend Yom Kippur.
What Will You Remember?
In sharing my feelings with a friend, he said, “Red. In five years will you remember that you prayed in your brother’s synagogue or will you remember that you went to your nephew’s important life event?”
Although it was a very innocent question, it caught me off guard. Of course I would remember being there for my nephew, my brother and sister-in-law more than I would remember praying at my own synagogue. That settled it; I was going and I was more content with that decision.
I remember this situation when I am faced with an event that I am able to attend but that is challenging to me in some way or another. I always ask myself what I am going to remember 5, 10, and even 20 years from now and that is what I use to make my decision regarding what to do.
It’s All About Perspective
Ultimately, you want to make decisions in your life not on what you feel is going to inconvenience you for the moment as that will cause you to make a wrong move more times than not. Instead, keep perspective about what is really important and base your choices on that.
Here are some questions that can help you when you are struggling as to what to do in your own life:

  • Will I even remember this event 10, 20, or 40 years from now?
  • If I will, what do I want to remember most? The inconveniences I faced or the beauty of the occasion?
  • What does this event mean to the person who invited me?
  • What does the event mean to me?
  • If I don’t go, am I likely to regret it?
  • Is there some underlying reason behind why I don’t want to go and I am just using my inconvenience as an excuse?

Answering questions like these will help you get to the bottom of your feelings while keeping things in perspective. Then you will be able to reach a decision that is right for you. Today and tomorrow.

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