A key word being used by many to describe the cause of our anxiety during these unsettling times is the lack of ‘visibility’.
For we as human beings to live productive lives we need a healthy degree of foresight so we can plan ahead accordingly.
The uniqueness of our times is due, not so much to the scale of the actual impact of this pandemic, but a result of the state of confusion that seems to have engulfed the world.
Let’s stop for a moment and think about why we are so obsessed with ‘visibility’?
Perhaps this comes as a result of wanting to feel in control of our game. We feel insecure if anyone or anything changes our trajectory in ways we have not planned.
In times like this we all seek wisdom and clarity. No book encapsulates this in a short anecdotal style like the book of Proverbs: “Many designs are in a man’s mind, But it is G-d’s plan that will stand”. (Proverbs 19:21).
Yes, it is our responsibility to plan ahead as best as we can. However, we must always recognise
that in truth we have limited control beyond the present. We must certainly play our part to the fullest, but at some point we must learn to let go. We must submit our obsession to control the results of our efforts, to a force greater than ourselves.
If we really want to be in control of our lives and destiny, again we have guidance from our sages. “Who is mighty? He who subdues his [evil] inclination”. (Ethics of Our Fathers 4:1)
The problem we have is that we have become distracted by the most consequential battle in our lives. As the saying goes “Choose your battles wisely”.
It is only once we focus our primary efforts on controlling the destructive forces within us, then we can begin to live a healthy and productive life.
For even though we are not in control over what curve balls are thrown towards us in life, we can be in control over how we respond.
The Baal Shem Tov goes one step further. He explains that when one sees a fault in another person, one is in fact observing a fault of their own. He or she is your mirror.
Do we want more visibility of the future or more control of our trajectory?
Let us take a good look into the mirror.