Quote For Thought: “Love Life…”

15 Oct

I find that if you love life, life will love you back.

— Arthur Rubinstein

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated math. Actually, Coral the high school student would have argued that it was indeed math that hated me (us?). No matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t get it. It didn’t matter if I spent my entire lunch period being tutored by my teacher or if s/he gave me “tricks” to cut down the number of steps. It didn’t matter what track I was in– math and I became sworn enemies; sealed by fate and destined for eternity.

Or so I thought.

You see, I knew there would be a point where math and I would have to meet up again. I triumphantly dodged it in my senior year of high school, seminary and the year after. I even applied to Israeli colleges, not so much because I liked the schools, but because I knew as an English Linguistics major, they would never make me take math again. However, as passionately as I love the indubious preciseness of syntax and phonetics, I didn’t want to be a Linguistics major… and as much as I hated math, I wasn’t about to become a Music Major*. So with my decision made, I knew that I had no choice but to face my sworn nemesis again. It was only a matter of time.

The day came when I had to prepare for the math placement exam at my college. If I had to revisit my longtime tormentor, I was going to meet him ready to fight. My weapon of choice– the Cliffnotes Math Review for Standardized Tests. My mentor– yours truly. I took out my  review book and notebook at every chance I got. I was doing math during my at breakfast, during work, after work; even Sunday afternoons. There was no stopping me. I knew that if I wanted this grievous science of numbers and their operations out of my life for good, I would have to know it like I loved it.

And it was during this time that the strangest thing began to happen. You know those chick flicks where the main characters start out hating each other but as the movie progresses they fall in love (i.e. The Swan Princess)? That’s what happened to me and math. As I began to understand its functions and noticed how it was teaching me to think in organized, thought out steps I began to like it. And once I began to take a math course in college, I found that I didn’t just like math, I loved it.

I don’t love it because I’m suddenly much better at it. I spend an average of two hours on my math homework and another two reviewing what I previously learned. Thankfully, I have a patient and resourceful teacher as well as a tutoring center with really great hours (and great tutors), so when there is something I really don’t get, I have helpers to guide me. There are still times I have to refer back to my review book I bought all those months ago, because honestly, the textbook doesn’t make much sense to me. But the reason I love it now is the same reason I hated it most of my life: it challenges me to be more. It asks me to show what I’ve got and I’ve seen that with hard work, I have a lot more patience, stamina and ability than I ever thought I had.

It’s the same with life.

Life challenges us. We’re not here to be comfortable, we are here to achieve. We might look at people who have it tough, sometimes ourselves, and think, “Wow, life must really hate them/me.” There is no denying that some people seem to have harder challenges than others. But don’t think for a second that life loves those who seemingly have less challenges than those who have more. Life loves us, which when looked at from a Jewish perspective means G-d loves us. And though I can’t explain to you what it means for G-d to love us, I know that it is truth. When we shut our eyes to challenges in an effort to make them go away, our anxiety increases. Instead of surpassing the roadblocks we trip over them, because we aren’t allowing ourselves to see. When we shut our eyes to challenge we not only block out the hardships, we block out the opportunity to become greater, stronger individuals. When we face life and its challenges with open eyes, an open heart and an open spirit, the factors that were once so obviously our enemies become our mentors. When we view life this way, when we love it for the immeasurable opportunity that it is we are able to see that not only does it love us back…but it has loved us all along.

Have a Restful, Tranquil and Simcha-filled Shabbos!

 

 

* No offense to Music Majors. I’m just not good enough at music to major in it. Why I even applied to the music department is another story, but that is for another day :).

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4 Responses to “Quote For Thought: “Love Life…””

  1. Bluestocking October 18, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I can’t add to save my life. And my teacher in 9th grade put me to sleep, so I knew to do well on the Regents I’d have to study on my own, so I bought the books and practiced during every break. Algebra is not like regular addition – there’s formulas and calculators, so I was fine.

    The teacher called my parents and told them she was concerned. I told them there was no reason to worry, but they revoked my tv rights and kept saying “All you need is a 65.” I got a 99.

    I still can’t add.

  2. feivelbenmishael October 19, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    I hate math so I went to yeshiva 😛 Kol hakavod tho.

  3. coralcap October 20, 2010 at 8:59 am #

    Bluestocking- That’s the kind of success I’m talking about!Can you imagine what we could do if we put in that same effort into other areas of our lives? I’m not sure it’s possible to put that much energy into more than one or two things at a time. Thanks for the story, it really encouraged me.

    Feivel- Math can be a bummer. I hated it too, but now that I try harder, I like it more. Maybe you can too? If it’s behind you then don’t look mback but if it’ll be reentering your life at some point, just remember that that hatred can drive you to actually get good at it.

  4. Sun Inside Rain October 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Great post, Coralcap. (Though will all my efforts, I still barely passed my math regent! Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be.) The lesson is so true, though.

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