15 Tamuz 5781 / Friday, June 25, 2021 | Torah Reading: Balak
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A Debt of Gratitude    

A Debt of Gratitude

Saying thank-You to the Creator in seemingly impossible circumstances is the fastest path to salvation.


This morning, the most fortunate thing happened to me! I missed the bus.


And I’m so thankful it happened. Why?


Taking the right approach when it comes to inconveniences, upsets, and difficulties is an absolute imperative if you’re looking to live an intentional, purpose filled life. A person who is unable to “roll with the punches” will inevitably find him or herself drifting away from the intense focus on core values that are vital to building a successful life.


Now back to this morning:


After missing my bus, I checked the upcoming schedule and found the next one would not be arriving for another 30 minutes. Not wanting to delay the critical tasks I needed to accomplish, I thought it would be wise to grab the next taxi. After a few minute delay, I flagged down the next cab, but the driver refused to stop for me. Instead, he waved at the driver on the opposite side of the street to make a U-turn and give me a lift. The cab rolled up beside me and stopped. It was gleaming. New, beautiful and clean with flawless paint. When I opened the door to sit down, the familiar new car smell embraced me, and I sensed the pleasure and joy the driver was experiencing at the wheel of his new treasure.


And then the realization hit me:


Six months ago I was in a cab with this very same driver, but not the same cab. It was busy, insanely busy. The traffic was bumper to bumper with tired, agitated drivers that Friday afternoon. It was hot and hectic, and the sound of people leaning heavily on their horns was almost continual. As we eked our way along towards the destination, I reached into my pocket for my wallet, only to discover I had spent all of my cash. Deeply embarrassed, I immediately advised the driver of my predicament and asked him to drop my son and me off at another location to withdraw funds for the fare. He was not concerned in the least. After taking his telephone number, and arranging a pickup point for the fare, we parted ways. Quickly my son and I ran to the closest cash machine and made a withdrawal. We made our other outstanding purchases, and the summoned another taxi to return home.


During our ride back I rang the first taxi driver and advised him to meet us to pick up his well-deserved fare. But when I reached him, I was told that he was out of the city now, and would not be back until much later. We made up to touch base again the following evening due to scheduling constraints. The only problem was that when the time came to call, I forgot. And by the time I remembered the day after, because of the volume of calls I received, his number had been pushed out of the phone’s temporary storage! (*Note to self, buy a new phone). Frustrated that I had not taken the time to save the number, I did the only thing I knew was appropriate given the circumstances. I began to thank the Creator for bringing about this difficulty and asked for help to ensure my cabbie got the funds he rightly deserved. I prayed that I would meet the driver again. I begged for help, and that the driver would judge me favorably.  I prayed that he would not be upset he didn’t end up getting paid. I did not want to be called a thief.


Over the next six months, I continued to pray. I asked cab drivers if they possibly knew the driver. I described the circumstances in detail and gave my number to those who would take it. Many of them did not seem to care all that much, but some understood my plea and my desire to clear up the bill. But it remained outstanding month after month. I tried desperately to describe his car to another cabbie, some of the unique damage on his vehicle. The way the after-market stereo was installed.


All of my efforts were to no avail. Or so I thought.


And that brings us to this morning. And the miraculous answer to my prayer!


Immediately upon realizing that this was the cabbie I owed money to, I shared the story with him. He remembered the day vividly. He also remembered my son. The traffic. The phone exchange. Him being out of town and of course my failure to call him.


All that was replaced with his brilliant smile. And it proved to me just how happy he was with this stroke of good fortune. It was just as hard for me to wipe the smile off my face.


As I handed him the outstanding fare, and today’s fare together, a sense of exhilaration and gratitude enveloped me. I had been answered, in an astonishing, illogical way. Saying thank-You to the Creator in seemingly impossible circumstances is the fastest path to salvation.


Saying thank-You solved my problem.


The things that occurred today summoned an intense hope and faith in my soul.


It also helped me to reinforce the idea that regardless of the situation, prayer can make all of the difference in the world.

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