Last Wednesday my family and I decided to embark upon our first journey since we our little princess was born. It didn't take long until I noticed that as hard as it was to get out of the house with five us, with six, it was nearly impossible. But thank the L-rd we were able to pile into the car, and all get our seat belts snuggly on. Besides for my two week old baby bawling like I did after watching Cinderella Story when I was 18 , and my two year old screaming because he is a middle child, there was a certain serenity that overcame us all in the car. I began to take a deep breath as I pressed the button on the garage door opener. But after a few seconds, I noticed, to my horror, the garage was not opening. I tried again, but to no avail. I remained as calm as Tom Brady was, down by 3 points in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, as I figured the garage door was stuck on some ice, and I began to dig around the garage door, to help it open. But when I clicked the opener, again, the silly door did not budge, the same way I wouldn't budge if you tried to cut me in a line to get cake. At this point all my four children were shrieking, as we shlepped them out of the car, and sent them dutifully back upstairs.
That night, an incredible young strapping lad who we will call Dru came over and helped me open the garage so I could pull the car out; but when we shut it, we found that the silly garage would not reopen. That night, about 14 inches of snow fell innocuously on my unsuspecting car. For the next week, as we would load the car, we would be holding our children like footballs as we hurdled down our snowy icy staircase en route to our frozen beauty on wheels.
The next day, I woke up to notice that the weather had reached a crisp -11 degrees Fahrenheit. As I walked to the sink to try to make myself an intensely caffeinated beverage, to my horror, the water did not turn on. Apparently, because my garage was operating manually, it was kind of cracked open, which let the frigid air into my garage, and this froze the water pipes. This meant no water, no showers, and best, no flushing the potty.
What I wanted to discuss, dear Henry, is that these two experiences, (namely having my garage break, and my water freeze,) led me to a deeper understanding of what my 1st grade teacher Rondi used to sing to us in a song that she presumably wrote: "Don't it always seem to be that you don't know what you got till its gone; they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot." Henry, I will be honest with you. Despite loading my children in the car several times a day conveniently by using our indoor garage, I never stopped to feel grateful for being blessed with the ability to make use of such an amazing invention. Several times a day, every day, my kids walked through my warm house into a reasonably temperate car sitting cozily in the garage. With one slight movement of my index finger our car whizzes out, and we are on our way. I not once ever stopped to consider how convenient this garage makes our life, and how fortunate I am to be able to make use of it.
More importantly dear Henry, is that I don't think I ever once stopped to consider how blessed we are to be able to make use of running water whenever we so desire. Without running water, not only would I be a zombie, being forced to function in the slow lane, but on a deeper level I would not be able to live in sanitary conditions with a working toilet, and more depressingly, I would not be able to survive without being able to drink water; as Matisyahu himself says in his best song ever, "If you got no water, how you gonna survive?"
These experiences have shown with pristine clarity that happiness is not the attainment of money, nor wild and crazy escapades across the world; but rather if one is able to perceive the myriad of gifts in his life. The key to happiness is not to sweat the small stuff, but to savor it.