I am currently planning a trip to Europe with one of my roommates for next year, Adam. Originally we had been discussing going to England, Scotland, Ireland, and France but felt that time/money might make that trip to taxing. We then switched to Italy and Spain. A few days into our planning, a mutual friend had suggested we do France and Italy and he and his wife wanted to join us as well. Adam and I spent an hour and a half on Skype, looking up travel in France—or rather he was looking and I was avoiding. I was avoiding because I wanted to go to Spain, but I wasn’t saying anything. An hour and ½ in to the conversation it finally came out that I wanted to do Spain and Italy because I had a stronger desire to see Spain. Adam just looked at me [well visa vie skype] and said, “why didn’t you say so”. It seemed so simple, just say it, make the decision, and go with it. The problem is I am the queen of what if. I hate making decisions because that leads to asking “what if”. What if I made the wrong choice or said the wrong thing? These what ifs can drive a person crazy as they go through the world second-guessing themselves.
I am a slave to my own head and my own doubts. As we enter Pesach, and in great detail and length [or not length if you are at my Seder] we will recount the details of us going out of slavery and into freedom, I cannot help but reflect on ways in which I am still a slave to my own doubts.
In Deuteronomy 24:17 we read: When you beat down the fruit of your olive trees, do not go over them again, this shall go to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. When you father the grapes of your vineyard do not pick it over again; that shall go to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. Always remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment.
We are not supposed to go back to our fields a second time, according to the Torah, but rather leave the remains for those who cannot provide for themselves. This sends a beautiful message that seems irrelevant today. With the exception of one [maybe two] of my classmates, no one I know is a farmer [or has any desire to be a farmer]. So what does it mean to not go over your fields again?
I propose a modern way to look at what it means to not go over your fields again—do not second guess yourself. The Torah tells us—if you left it, it is no longer yours. Once you have gone you cannot go back. Imagine applying this to your life. Once you make a choice, you accept it, and move forward whatever that may look like. Imagine the freedom from ones own mind if they trusted in their decisions. What would our lives look like if we walked through the world with the ultimate confidence in what we chose to do with our lives? We will always know a naysayer or two, who tell us we cannot do what we have set out to do, imagine not being the naysayer in your life. Imagine empowering yourself to make a choice and go with it, without looking back, what would that look like?
I have recently started an experiment. I am making decisions, small ones, ones where the outcome does not have a drastic impact on my life, and I am going with them, moving forward, and not waiting for someone else to decide for me. I have realized, that by waiting for others to make choices, I am loosing the ability to choose my own fate, design my own life, and operate under my own free will.I am starting small. This year I am a slave to my own doubts, next year I hope that I can say: once, I was a slave in my doubts. Today, I am free