Minute #652: Comprehensive

“I’m so sorry I said ‘no’ when Mr. Plotnick offered me a chance to go for a cruise on his boat,” Eric said. “It might not have been so bad had I not seen the boat glide by my grandmother’s condominium overlooking the inlet. Boy! They all looked like they were having such a great time!”

“I noticed that you were a little down when I got home,” his brother David said. “I know how it feels to miss a golden opportunity.”

“I guess I refused too quickly,” Eric said.

“I’m not so sure,” his brother replied. “Our friend Robert did make the trip and he told me that everyone was enjoying it until a passing thunderstorm made the waters rough and tossed the boat in all directions. All the passengers became seasick and prayed for relief. When they finally arrived back at the dock, it wasn’t soon enough!”

“Wow!” Eric exclaimed. “I guess you have to know the whole story before you can reach the correct conclusion.”

Many people are saddened by a missed opportunity. However, their sadness may be ill founded. Firstly, one should always try to focus on the present and not let what happened in the past impact one’s mood negatively. One certainly should not let sadness over a missed opportunity inhibit one’s ability to make the most of the present.

In order to better assess what has transpired, one must get all the facts, the whole story. It is very rare that something is totally good or 100 percent bad. Usually there’re some positive and some negatives in any given situation. One must not focus exclusively on the positives of a missed chance. A comprehensive view will enable one to control — or even avoid — negative feelings. That will enable making the most of “now” and beyond.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Greatness from the Jewish perspective lies in the pursuit of Torah learning. All the learning in the world, however, will not confer greatness upon a person unless it instills within him a devotion to helping others. Only then is his service to Hashem complete. (Rabbi Fishel Schachter, Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness: Daily Lessons in the Power of Giving, p. 246)