By Karen Berg.
During this time of year, when the weather is cold and the days are short, I think of all the seeds lying in wait deep underground. I think of the beauty that comes in spring, even now while the leaves are dying when there seems to be no color or life at all. I think of all the life that is still yet to come.
This is how life works. There is a cycle to the seasons, and so too to our lives. I wish I could say that in life we will not have our own winters – but we will. I wish I could promise a life without challenges, but I cannot promise that. To be alive is to have challenges. The key to overcoming these moments is to see them for what they truly are: Opportunities to learn, to grow and to inch ever closer towards fulfillment.
In this week's portion, Joseph found himself in some pretty hard times. Much harder than most of us will ever find ourselves in. Joseph's brothers tried to kill him. When that didn't work out, they threw him in a pit. Then they sold him into slavery to strangers in a strange land where then he ended up in jail for a crime he did not commit. Not so easy, right guys? These types of events will most likely never happen to us, but we for sure will find ourselves in some dark moments throughout life. Moments where we might want to ask, "Why is this happening to me, God?" Moments when we might want to say "Hey, I am a good person. Look at all the good I've done. I gave some money when I could. I helped some friends when they needed me. I don't steal. I didn't kill anyone. Why is this happening to me?"
When we find that life has thrown us a curve ball and things get tough, let us try to put ourselves in a space where we can appreciate that everything is happening for our own good, even if we cannot see quite why. A space where we trust the Creator, and the wisdom of the Universe.
Joseph maintained certainty that everything he was experiencing was from the Light, and for a good reason. In addition, he knew what he was experiencing was even necessary. If Joseph had not been sold into Egypt, the spiritual cleansing of the people of Israel could not have taken place. Because of this level of consciousness, Joseph transformed each peril into a blessing. Most of you know how the story ends. Joseph became the governor of all of Egypt and its wealth passed through his hands.
We too can soar to these great heights. We all have Joseph’s power inside of us, and we can access it by knowing there is good in whatever hardship we find ourselves facing. Often times, by changing our perception just slightly, we can appreciate each challenge as an important and vital step to where we are going next. Each one of us, I hope, can look back at our lives and see how some of the most difficult experiences gave birth to some of our biggest blessings. I bet we can even say we are grateful that our prayers at the time were not answered.
This week look for the Light in the darkness. Find the diamond in the rough. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the white silvery winter landscape. Be willing to see that a seed cannot grow anywhere else but in the cold, dark soil of the Earth. Give yourself the self-love to see that whatever is going on in your life right now is for your own good. Whatever obstacle you may face is a part of the best path for that good to find its way to you. Love the Creator so you can trust in the process of the seasons and the cycles of life. For after night, comes the day, as after winter comes spring.
And remember, what will help you to stay strong through your hard times is to help others through theirs. Be there for a friend when they need support. Call them up to see how they are doing. Give them a hug. Let people know you are there. Be the best wife, sister, mother, friend, father, brother you can be. I know you can do it. Knowing we are not alone is sometimes all we need to make it through the winter until the beautiful flowers bloom once again.
Sending my love to you all,