I got lost going to a rabbinic meeting this morning. I ended up in the right town but the wrong synagogue. This doesn't surprise those who know me- I am a bit absent- minded and forgetful these days. I asked the rabbi about the meeting of which he had no knowledge and in the course of the conversation indicated that the rabbi emeritus was in the sanctuary and perhaps he knew the right location of the meeting. At that moment the secretary stepped into the rabbi's office with the necessary information.
I made a point of stopping by the sanctuary to greet the colleague who had been seriously ill and is since retired.
We were pleased to see each other after a prolonged period of time and caught up with one another's whereabouts. It was a delightful exchange. He seemed happy and well; I was grateful.
I finally found the right synagogue and joined the meeting already in progress.
What could have been a source of irritation and annoyance became instead a positive and blessed occurrence.I met a new rabbi, I became reacquainted with a colleague and I experienced the kindness of strangers who helped me find my way.
Of course not all incidents of getting lost are necessarily pleasant-yet, the way we approach them can be influenced by the attitude that we are never sure where we are going and should try to cultivate an approach of being grateful for wherever we are.
A wonderful story is told of a pious rabbi who daily attended morning services in a small town. Each day, at the same hour, he passed by the plaza on the way to the synagogue, and greeted the chief of police who knew where the rabbi was going. One morning, on his way, the chief of police asked him: "Where to, Rabbi?"The rabbi replied: "I don't know!"
Incensed at what he thought was ridicule , the police chief hauled the rabbi to jail. As the door to the jail was about to close, the rabbi turned and said:" You see, I didn't know !"
What a profound truth! Wherever we set out to go, we are never sure about our planned arrivals. What applies to our daily lives is very much true about life in general.
If we do get lost, perhaps an attitude of being grateful will confer on us the ability to experience that occasion as a blessed and meaningful one.After all,perhaps our detours are indeed our destinations.