History can repeat itself whether you will it or not.
Two decades ago we bought our first home in Toronto. Latecomers to the housing market, Michel and I were elated to finally join our homeowner friends and spend Sunday afternoons mowing the lawn and tidying the garage. Our bliss was short lived for, within a few weeks of moving in, I began to feel very unwell and was besieged with a variety of symptoms that baffled doctors and eluded any clear- cut diagnosis.
Just days shy of the first mortgage payment and on the day of my daughter,Tali’s Barney the Dinosaur birthday party, I found myself flat on my back on a stretcher in the Emergency Room of a nearby hospital. News of my mysterious illness circulated throughout the community and, by that evening I started to mull the thought that my newly renovated older abode could possibly be the cause of my malady.
Desperate to return to my normal state of good health and concerned for the well being of our two runny nosed toddlers, we packed our overnight bags, locked the front door and found refuge with family and friends. The story ends with us selling our house, moving numerous times, having a third child and me starting an environmental business dedicated to helping people ensure that their homes are void of the things that made me so ill.
Fast- forward twenty years and we’re living on another continent and wouldn’t you know it, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle having been forced from our newly build house by some pesky water leaks. Dreadful allergies, the spoils of my last housing debacle, raged full force once the floor tiles were removed and millions of dust particles invaded our living space. I found myself climbing onto the step stool to retrieve the overnight bag from an overhead cupboard in quiet disbelief that we were in a predicament that warranted us to become again, wandering Jews.
The circumstances of having to look for a place to rest our red puffy eyes coupled with the familiar humming sound of near deafening industrial fans and my developing lightheadedness brought strong feelings of déjà vu.. What was shockingly different, however, was my reaction to the quandary.
Prior to my move to the Holy Land, I was prone to making small stuff loom large and I was apt to be easily set off by inconveniences; a flat tire, a washing machine that suddenly decided to stop spinning or a mouse finding safe haven in my broom closet. Such happenings would make me pout, tick me off and motivate my kids to move their play date to the other kid’s house. When my hair dryer would go on the fritz and I’d have to endure a day of frizzy bangs nothing short of a Steve Martin movie would get me to crack a smile.
But that was then and this is now. Passage of time has matured me and yes, experiences along the way have mellowed me, but the bare bones reality of daily living in Israel has gifted me with perspective. I’m no goody two shoes and, believe me, I do yell all the known expletives when someone blind sides me and takes the parking spot I’ve been patiently waiting for. I also lose my cool when I find myself with yet another puncture in my tire from a nail lying on the dirt road of my street, but nothing gets under my skin in quite the same way as it used to before I became a resident of Israel.
If you develop the art of perspective, you may be able to close the latest book on positive thinking and cancel that appointment you made with the therapist. I have been able to tweak my reactions to circumstances simply by becoming more aware of the multitude of challenges faced by the collective as well as the average individual here. My peklach of problems are still problems, don’t get me wrong, but juxtaposed by all the really big stuff that goes on, I can’t help but convince myself that having to kennel the dogs and spend a week at the Ramada (breakfast included) is really no big deal at all.