Minute #656: Repeat Performance

It was obvious to Channah that Ruth was not having a good day. Her usually bubbly personality was nowhere in evidence. Instead, she was extremely subdued, and when she spoke it was in a quiet, low voice. Something needed to be done to raise her friend’s spirits.

“Did you hear about the graduation Shabbaton our school is planning? From what I heard so far, it’s going to be awesome!” Channah said enthusiastically.

“Good,” was all Ruth replied.

Channah tried again. “My dad promised to buy me a ticket for that Chol Hamoed concert in Town Hall — and he said he’s getting me one for a friend, as well. Of course, you’re my first choice to invite!”

“Thanks,” was her classmate’s one-word response.

But Channah would not give up. She tried yet one more time to get through to Ruth. “Do you remember when we went to the zoo last month? That was one of the most fun times we’ve ever had. How we laughed!”

After a pause, Ruth cracked a tentative smile and said, “Yes, it was great! I don’t know if that was the best, or the time we went bargain hunting at the flea market and tried on all kinds of silly things. That might have been even better!”

The two girls continued chatting and giggling until they arrived at school.

When someone is in a bad mood, even the best proposals for the future often fall on deaf ears. The dark cloud hovering above makes everything look grey. A useful technique for changing a mood from bad to good is to recall enjoyable times and allow the upbeat feelings of the past to reemerge. Mentally reliving positive experiences helps one to deal more efficiently with the present. This can work when you attempt to cheer others, and it can also work if you do it for yourself!

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

When you are engaged in any job or occupation, focus on how you are helping other people and have in mind that you are fulfilling the commandment of love your fellow man. (Harav Simchah Zissel Ziv, Chochmah U’Mussar, vol. 2, p. 95)