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Mommy, look how nice it is when the sun’s rays come through the trees. You can literally see the light.

— The Gift of a Broken Car 

The other day I was driving in to the city early in the morning. It was 6:00 am and my 13 year old son was in the car with me. A few minutes after we had left home, I noticed some strange sounds coming from the car. Thinking that maybe the car was protesting having been woken up so early, I decided to try driving for another kilometer or two and see what would happen. 

Some 30 seconds later, I felt the engine falter. As I instinctively maneuvered the car to the side of the road, it came to an abrupt halt. It was completely dead. I tried restarting the engine. Nothing. Not even those funny, spluttering sounds that a reluctant engine makes . After a few more tries in vain, I understood that this car was not taking us anywhere today. 

We collected our respective bags, left the car and locked the doors behind us. All around us were only trees, the winding road extremely narrow. I noted with satisfaction that the car was close enough to the trees as to allow another car to pass it safely.

We began walking back in the direction we had come from. I was lost in thought, my brain forming a list of what would need to be done now. It was still too early in the morning to call a mechanic or tow truck. We were deep in the woods, and would be difficult to find. My son had to get to school, and I had to get to work on time. It would take a taxi quite some time to arrive here, and then there was still the morning traffic to take into account. I had a couple of errands planned for today in the city, and would now have to figure out how to do them while car-less. As my mind was buzzing, I was not even aware of my son walking next to me. Until suddenly I heard him say “It’s so beautiful”. 

What?

I turned to him with a quizzical look. What exactly is beautiful in our car breaking down in the middle of a forest road?!

“Mommy, look how nice it is when the sun’s rays come through the trees. You can literally see the light”.

I looked around, this time allowing my eyes to really see. Indeed, it was beautiful. The leaves were still wet with dew. The shafts of sunlight coming through the trees at this early morning hour looked so fresh, almost surreal.

“Yes. I answered after a moment of silence. It IS beautiful! ”

It’s beautiful that if our car had to break down, it happened here, at the very beginning of our trip, when we could still walk back home. 

It’s beautiful that if our car had to break down it didn’t happen in the middle of the highway with cars whizzing by. 

It’s beautiful that we get to have a refreshing 10 minute walk in this beautiful forest, on a beautiful morning.

It’s beautiful that I am not alone, and that we are together.

It’s beautiful, my dear son, that you have taught me to see the gift that G-d has given us today. It may have come packaged like a broken car, but it is truly a gift.

 

This week: It’s not so difficult to recognize G-d’s gifts when they come nicely wrapped. It’s a lot more challenging to know how to look beyond the not-so-pretty packaging, and recognize that inside is a beautiful gift from Hashem. This week let’s make an effort to recognize those gifts, and to thank Hashem for each and every one of them.

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