Shaliach means “a messenger,” someone who comes into your life to deliver something.
Some of the messengers that we encounter we like, and some we don’t.
One thing is for sure, they all come with a purpose.
Some come to show us the way, and some come to warn us.
Some come to give us clues.
The Shaliach that I’m going to write about came to me today, in my opinion, to give me a clue, or perhaps a reassurance.
I’ll explain how.
There are times when I’m deeply disappointed in myself for the opportunities I missed.
I can literally cry myself to sleep for the mean things I’ve said to others, for the things I didn’t say, for the times I didn’t stand up for myself.
But I think it’s very natural to feel this way.
Many times we tend to hold onto the past, to certain events that we no longer have control of.
We ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I?”
“I should have.”
“How could I?”
And then the judgements come.
“I’m so stupid.”
“I’m not good enough.”
We are angry at ourselves.
We wish we could go back in time and fix things for the better.
But, one thing that still hasn’t been invented yet is a time machine.
And maybe there is a reason for that.
Now what does that have to do with the Shaliach I told you about earlier?
Let me tell you what happened.
So, after school on Wednesdays, I take the D Train.
There was a religious-looking man who seemed awfully confused, standing by the subway.
I couldn’t help but ask him if he was ok, if he needed any help.
He responded, “You have to go the wrong way to go the right way.”
I was struck by what he said, all of a sudden.
It seemed as if there was this deep meaning in what he told me.
It was almost as if I had a moment of epiphany, as if Hashem spoke through him.
He continued, “The Manhattan-bound train isn’t working.”
“Yes, of course!” I replied, still shaken by what he told me.
And then, he continued and said another powerful thing.
“You have to go backwards, to go forwards.”
I paused again, shaken.
There it was, an answer.
It was as if Hashem told me, “Ms. Ghelber, don’t get confused with the Manhattan bound train. I am trying to deliver a message to you.”
So what is the message?
The message is that when someone wants to run fast, they have to step backwards, to set themselves up.
When we take the wrong way, we can experience disappointment and grief.
But, it is a learning experience, and the only other way is to go the right way. Back to the conversation with the man:
He seemed very frustrated.
So I asked him if he was late.
He said, “No, it’s just frustrating. I have to go one stop and transfer back.”
Now, going back to my philosophy, when we take the wrong way, this is what we can do, take a different route.
So don’t be too caught up in the terrible, horrible things you’ve done.
I’m going to tell you something very unoriginal.
Concentrate on the now, and if you are going the wrong way, just transfer.
The express train will get you there faster.