The Moon and Me

September 23, 2012 - 5:00 am

“It will be established forever like the moon,
the faithful witness in the sky.” — Psalm 89:37

What if life were perfect? What if every morning when you woke up, the sun was shining? After a great night rest, you would greet your perfect spouse and your angelic children, and then make your way to your dream job. What if the traffic lights were always green and your co-workers were always helpful and cheerful? What if after every perfect day, you returned home to a perfectly leisurely evening? What if life were easy? What, then, would be the point of it?

A young man once complained to his older and wiser father about all his problems in life. “I just want things to be easy, Dad!” the son said. “I know a place where people have no problems. But I don’t think you would like it there,” the father replied. “Why not?” asked the son. “Let me show you,” said his father. The two got in the car and drove for few miles. As they neared their destination the old man said triumphantly, “Here it is!” And they pulled into a cemetery.

The only people without any problems are ones who aren’t living. An EKG heart monitor says it all. The sign of life is a healthy pattern of ups and downs. The sign of death is a long, flat line. Because life was never meant to be easy. It’s only through our challenges that our lives have meaning.

In Psalm 89, life is compared to the moon. The psalmist writes: it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” The Sages teach that the “it” in the psalm is the world. When God created life, he intended for it to be like the moon. While the sun is always bright and shinning, the moon waxes and wanes. Sometimes it is full and bright, other times it is just a tiny sliver in the sky. Isn’t that the story of our lives?

Sometimes we are on top of the world, higher than the highest mountain. But other times, we fall flat on our faces. For every mountain, there is a valley. But these ups and downs are what gives meaning to our lives.

We are here to learn and to grow. What would we learn in a predictable world? Why would we grow if everything came easy? Next time you find yourself feeling small or dark, look at the moon in the sky. Remember: In the times that it is smallest, it is reborn. The darkest parts of the cycle lead to the times of fullness and light.


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