When We Don’t Always Know What’s Best for Us.

In my last blog post, I wrote about looking for spiritual lessons in difficult situations. I wrote about trying my hardest with my step-son, Izzy, to find a way to reach him. I’d made a conscious decision to love him without expecting anything in return. And the miracle was that our relationship grew and now it’s quite strong.

After I posted the blog, Izzy told me, “It was so hard in the beginning for me to share my Dad with the other four kids—and my older sister. But now, when anyone asks me, I always say I have two brothers and three sisters. I’m really proud of that.”

Shlomie always complained that Libi bossed them around when they were younger. Libi thought Shlomie was really annoying.

Shlomie always complained that Libi bossed them around when they were younger. Libi thought Shlomie was really annoying.

They fought hard back then. ‘Twas challenging. We’d burn rubber getting out of our driveway just to calm the three boys down because they were fighting in the back seat. (I’d look in the rear-view mirror and see legs and fists flying.) If you had told Izzy then, down the road you’ll appreciate this big family, he would not have believed it.

We don’t always know what’s best for us.

As I wrote, sometimes our hardest lessons are our best teachers. Sometimes things we think are awful turn out to be wonderful.

Sometimes it takes us years to figure out why something happened, why the puzzle pieces fit into place.

In the tent

In the tent

If you look at the photo of all of us in our tent—we were camping in a lovely place called Horshat Tal in northern Israel—you can see how Izzy is clinging to his Dad (Jonny’s) neck. It was definitely tough for him to go from being the youngest child sharing his father with only his big sister, Libi, to having four new step-siblings all younger than him and vying for his attention.

But if we try to look at all our problems as a chance to learn lessons for our spirit, then we can grow. And we have to remember not to step in when people we love are suffering. We don’t want to deprive them of the lessons they need to learn.

It takes time to figure things out. Sometimes it takes years until the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Sometimes we never know the why. All we can do is try our best to muddle through and hope that eventually we will understand things in a different way.

At the kitchen table, reenacted a few years later. Back row, Libi, with Eyal, her son who's now two, Amalia, Ari, Libby with Abigail, Izzy and Shlomie.

At the kitchen table, reenacted a few years later. Back row, Libi, with Eyal, her son who’s now two, Amalia, Ari, Libby with Abigail, Izzy and Shlomie.

 

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
This entry was posted in How to Change Your Life, Transformation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to When We Don’t Always Know What’s Best for Us.

  1. juliabarrett says:

    True words. You and your children are so very wise. Sometimes we don’t see the path before us until it’s behind us.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Julia. And that’s an illuminating point: “We don’t see the path before us until it’s behind us.” Profound!

  2. Big Libi says:

    Wow. Diana, this just really made me cry. Such good timing! We have an incredible family. I have so much respect for you and JK letting us all go through whatever it was we needed to go through and just loving us. Now as a mom I know how challenging it can be. Especially w those three animals. They were animals let’s face it 🙂 I love you. Both. All 8 of us. It wasn’t easy. And still isn’t sometimes, but it’s the best. And seeing how my kids can’t wait to come over and spend time with everyone just shows me they fell the love that I feel.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Big Libi! I love you and your kids and it’s wonderful that now we can reap all that we sowed. Yay, us! And you weren’t animals…even though your Dad always said, “You kids are animals!”

  3. Pam Huggins says:

    A wonderful blog today Diana! Then I read Big Libi’s comment and now I’m in tears.
    Thanks to both of you for sharing your story. It’s meaningful.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Pam. I like the idea of how people from all over can somehow relate to one another’s feelings and struggles. Glad it’s meaningful for you.

  4. Diana, your post was honest, poignant and profound, and I loved the tent picture with the kids as adults together in the next picture. And then “Big Libi” included a comment that iced the entire cake. Especially about her children and how they can’t wait to come over and spend time with everyone.
    Kids know, and Libi’s are proof of the generational success!

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Marylin, Thank you for your words. It is validating to put all this out there and hope it resonates with others. Thanks again!

  5. Rhonda Blender says:

    Diana,
    Strange timing to read this. You wrote: “Sometimes it takes us years to figure out why something happened, why the puzzle pieces fit into place.”

    Just two nights ago I was reflecting to my psychoanalyst that years ago I had all the right high fashion suits, had impeccable make-up but still dragged around the things that were unresolved inside me. As you wrote, it takes time to work it out and even that won’t happen unless you are transparent with yourself. You’re right: it took time to figure it out and recognize what the puzzle pieces were and how they came to fit into place. I would add that the next step is asking whether the way the puzzle pieces are in place is sustaining an unhappiness or enabling our joy…and what we want to do next about that.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Rhonda, I like your idea of putting the puzzle pieces in place and finding a way to enable our joy. Just open up that door! That’s what I tell myself. And then walk through. Thank you for your comments!

  6. Tom says:

    “God works all things for the good of those who love him”

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