This entry is dedicated to the memory of Shimon Zev ben Yeshayahu. May the inspiration gained from this give his neshama an aliya.
This Sunday, September 4, 2016 is the centennial anniversary of the College of Music at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. As part of the celebrations, a huge 80-plus-piece orchestra was formed, comprised of current students and alumni from as far back as they could reach. This was why last Tuesday, I found myself sat beside a man who graduated as a violin major from the college back in 1952.
I couldn’t help being in awe at this experience of playing beside a man who has spent at least the last 60 years playing the violin – probably even closer to 70! I felt tiny with my own 12 years of playing. As I went home that day after rehearsals, I found myself thinking of how much more I had to learn and experience, and how much more room there is for me to grow.
A few days later, I found myself struggling to accept something in my life that didn’t go as I wanted it to. However, I was determined to face the situation with emunah (faith), so I sat myself down and thought about G-d. As I was thinking, my thoughts went back briefly to this man with 70 years of violin playing experience and I suddenly realized… well, if we’re talking in terms of credentials and years of experience, G-d has thousands and thousands of years of experience of “running lives.” And that was when it hit me:
This G-d running my life is the same G-d who spoke to Avraham Avinu, the G-d of Rochel imeinu, Leah imeinu, Sarah imeinu, Yitzchak, Rivka, Yosef, and Yaakov. The same G-d who told Noach to built an ark. The same G-d who appeared to Moshe rabbeinu in a burning bush. The same G-d who took the Israelites out of Egypt, split the Red Sea, and sustained them in the desert with manna and quail. The same G-d who protected Daniel in the furnace and in the lion’s den. The same G-d who helped the Maccabees win against the Romans despite their tiny size, and made oil last for eight nights. The same G-d who saved the Jews from Haman’s genocidal plot. The same G-d who held back the rain and sent down fire for the prophet Elijah. The same G-d who helped David win against Goliath, and with all his other hardships.
It’s extremely humbling, knowing that I share this with all the amazing men and women in the Torah, and makes them feel a little closer. Rochel imeinu may have existed thousands of years ago, but we share the same G-d. The G-d that took care of her is taking care of me now. And the thought is a little intimidating, but also extremely inspiring. There must be something great about me too, for G-d to care about me as much as He cared for the patriarchs, matriarchs, and everyone who came after them. There must be something great about each and every one of us, for G-d to give each one of us a unique mission and tikkun that only we can do, and no one else on this whole planet.
This same G-d is the G-d that is handling me and my life. This G-d cares about what I eat, how I dress, and what I say. This G-d cares about ME. And do I really think that my own life is so intense it’s beyond what G-d can handle, after hearing everything He’s been doing the past thousands of years?
So maybe things in my life aren’t running exactly the way I want them to. But will I trust my script, or the script of the G-d who has been taking care of things before time, who sees all, and knows all – and really, designed everything? Will I pretend that I know better, me and all my 25 years?
I think it would probably be wise to put my faith in G-d instead, just like the matriarchs and patriarchs did. He knows what He’s doing, and He most certainly knows the best way to live – so it probably also makes sense to live according to the Torah and its principles. And at this point, all there’s left for me to say is… Thank G-d He’s my G-d too. 🙂