It has been a couple of hard years for everyone in the United States. The economy is crashing around us, people have lost homes, jobs and businesses. Threats of terror are making headlines, books are being written and our email box loads up with all the doom and gloom of impending threats.
Then there is our personal life, the day to day struggles to make ends meet and family issues. Some of us have become empty nesters in the past year, taken on extra employment to get by, and have kids who have become rebellious and are adding pressure to the already mounting stress you carry.
While all this is happening, I know some of my friends have faced a marriage relationship that died long ago but they only now understand it. Some have divorced on good terms, some have lost everything and found themselves starting over again. There are those who are staying in relationships out of a sense of duty or in a job out of fear they won’t find another or out of concern they will lose their sense of identity. We have lost loved ones to death both expected and unexpected and some are still going through the dying process with family.
Now with all this, lets make matters even worse. We have a job, a home, a family who loves us, a new relationship that is going great or we have found that special someone we have been waiting for, but you can’t see all the blessings. You only see the negative customers, co-workers, traffic jams, or additional errands we have to run or we really think we don’t deserve to be happy. Then frustration sets in and we complain about the day.
I understand! Life is hard and nobody said it would be easy. I have spent most of the last six months in Israel, hosting guests from the US and meeting many dear friends for the first time. I have talked with the people on the streets of Israel, store clerks, taxi drivers, politicians and friends. We talk about life in Israel and how people here can be so happy! There is immense pressure, it’s not easy to live in Israel.
The cost of living here is extremely high, food, housing, gas…It’s all very expensive and wages are low. Today, people are working long hours and most homes have dual incomes. Now lets add the pressure of many holiday’s that can last several days and include either fasting, special foods and additional guests at the table. To make it worse, they have neighbors who hate them and send a reminder of their hate by attacking someone or sending a rocket into an area along the border.
If that is not enough pressure, add to it the media and surrounding European countries turning their back on Israel and calling them an Apartheid State, hate mongers etc. One would expect that the people of this tiny nation with all this stress, would be walking around as zombies in deep depression. That’s not what I see!
They are laughing, holding hands, enjoying the moments of life. Why? In the words of all the people I’ve talked to, ” Why not be happy?” “This is my way of life, so make the best of it”. This is Israel, and there is no better place on earth to be. Every Israeli that I meet says the same thing to me, the loving people, fun culture, beauty of the land and the freedom they have reminds them of how great life really is. It also helps that every holiday celebrated in the Jewish home, reminds them of the miracles and causes them to reflect on the condition of their own heart.
I will return changed forever by my experience here in Israel these last months. Worry and frustration are gone, hope has sprung up and joy fills my heart. I remind myself what I need to do each day, and that is to get up every morning with a smile on my face!
Friends, life is far to short to be wasted on frustration and grumbling. Embrace the moments of the day, hug the one you love or go after the one you have have looked for all your life. Smile at your co-workers, and the people you pass by on the street. Take a deep breath in a traffic jam, know that there is a reason for your delay, and stop to see all the goodness we have. Then thank G-D for His faithfulness even to those of us who may have lost faith.
I want to encourage you to wake up and put a smile on your face! I listen to the following song everyday as a reminder of all that I have learned and I stand on the shores of the Mediterranean looking onto the Tel Aviv shoreline and witness the faithfulness of G-D. He said the land would not produce till the children came home and in only 63 years what they have built is unbelievable! How can we not be happy, look at what has been accomplished in our nation in 200 years!
Haley Reinhart ~ “Beautiful”