Friday, June 26, 2009

If it isn't, should it be?

Dedicated to Yaakov ben Suzanne - may he get well soon.

Two stories that happened this week, both of them point to the same question.

I was back in San Francisco / Bay Area. What a great place.

While I was gone, our five-year-old Yoseph went to bed nicely every night in anticipation of receiving a reward from me today - a toy jet plane. There were not a lot of options in the Oakland toy store, so I hope he likes it.

Even though I told him on Monday that he'd get it Friday afternoon, this morning he was begging me for it and using just about every argument in the book to convince me.

He first started off trying to be discreet because he was within earshot of his 3-year-old sister Devorah.

"Abba, can I have the thing?"
"Yes, after school today."
"But I want it now!"
"Sorry, I said you would get it this afternoon."
"But I went to bed nicely for five nights!"
"But I want it now!"
"Can I at least just see it? I just want to see it!"

This was too much for Devorah. She got between Yoseph and me and looked up at me with her big brown eyes, "Can I have a thing too?"
"No, this is for Yoseph."
"But I went to bed nicely for five nights!"
I tried to ignore her.
"It's not fair..." (never heard that expression from her!) "I should get something too!"

Among my meetings in SF were two guys who are not content with being single.

Both of them are gentle, soft-spoken men over 40. Both are highly intelligent. Both are financially stable. Both are good looking and fun to be with. One of them is on the fast-track to getting married, the other isn't, and I'll tell you why I think so.

The one has made marriage a priority. He has had serious discussions with experienced match-makers on what steps he should take to fund his soul-mate. He has made the crucial "A" list and "B" list. But not only is he focused, he is open to feedback and able to adjust his thinking and strategy based on that feedback.

The other one has paid lip-service to marriage, and is open to finding the right woman, but has not pursued the goal with the same dedication and professionalism that he pursued his job. He has not, in my opinion, made the choices that he must make. He listens to feedback, but rarely acts on it, and ends up spinning his wheels with the feeling that life is a game of chance and not particularly fair.

So here's the question: Is life a game of chance and not particularly fair? Or is reasonable to expect ultimate, Hollywood-perfect justice? Are there any limits to the ethic of giving equal opportunity?

Shabbat Shalom.

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