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The Best Laid (Rabbinical) Plans

talmud study at desk

So Ryan and I will see what comes next. I’ve been looking for my “rabbinical school” job, and we’ve both been relying on his income. His snazzy new job as the operations director of a suburban medical lab was a great help to both of us while I looked.

Except that today the investors at Ryan’s company decided out of the blue to pull out. Bye-bye investors. Bye-bye company. And with that, Ryan’s job and our main source of income. Life can be so lifey sometimes.

I always say times like this are normal parts of that lifey life. If everything were always stable and predictable, that wouldn’t really be living, would it? These are the moment when gratitude is perhaps most important of all. It isn’t as if every happiness in our lives has suddenly disappeared. We have a roof over our heads, and our health, and each other (and Camoes, too), and for these things I am grateful.

Things always work out one way or another. The challenge is getting from here to there while maintaining your sanity and emotional wholeness. And maybe most importantly, your sense of God being right there with you through it. Who knows? Perhaps the lesson in times like these is to stop us in our tracks long enough to recognize and appreciate the nissim b’chol yom–the everyday miracles–in our lives.

Another important takeaway is becoming mindful once again of your ability to stand on your own two feet in times of uncertainty. Loss, as well. The first major casualty of the implosion of Ryan’s employer is our Halloween trip to Disneyland. We were leaving next Friday for three days and our very first Mickey’s Halloween Party.

And unfortunately, laid to the side along with Anaheim may be rabbinical school, too. Today, after my Biblical Hebrew and Literature of the Bible courses, I sat down with Rabbi Goldhamer, the president of our school, and expressed my gratitude to him for the chance of a lifetime. I told him about the (funny combination of humility and) sheer joy that I have felt since classes began last month.

Almost exactly seven years ago and long before my Jewish journey began, I voiced on these virtual pages my gratitude about the first of many wonderful, unexpected, and miraculous things that have come into my life from my fearlessness to connect about the stuff of life on my blog. (See Fear of Falling.) Seven years later, and life–and God–have never truly let me down. To respond back to my self from seven years ago, I am if nothing else proud to report that wherever my words have taken me, in the end I really have been prepared for the ride.

So this, too, will pass.

As our meeting ended, I hugged Rabbi Goldhamer and told him that no matter how long it lasted–whether I made it through to the end or my time at seminary ended unexpectedly early, just knowing I have a seat at the table (actually, there really is a single, main table around which all the classes are held) for right now, in this moment, is a dream come true.

May it continue. I pray that it continues. And isn’t it funny how the fear of falling so often shows up only after we’ve proven to ourselves our ability to take flight in the first place?


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Mike Doyle

I’m an #OpenlyAutistic gay, Hispanic, urbanist, Disney World fan, New York native, politically independent, Jewish blogger in Chicago. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I write words and raise money for nonprofits. I’ve written this blog since 2005. And counting...

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5 replies

  1. Michael, I’m very saddened to read about this, I just saw this post today. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know. My best to Ryan as well.

  2. Michael, why not start a fund? I can’t give much, but I promise I’ll donate when I can. Hopefully enough people (or people with big enough pockets) will donate to help you out.

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