Excerpted with permission from "BUY
GREEN BANANAS" - observations on self, family and life Published by
Shaar Press / Mesorah Publications Ltd.
by Rabbi Berel Wein
This brilliant little essay is inspired by a
blurb I saw recently in an e-mail communication that I received. Those pithy
little sentences read: "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, an
amateur built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
There are innate tendencies within us that work at cross-purposes with one
another. On one hand, there exists within all of us the great fear of the
unknown. Newton's law of inertia holds true not only in the mechanical and
physical world of physics, but in the world of human psychology and spirit
as well. People crave security and therefore remain in jobs, relationships
and situations which are unsatisfying, simply because they fear the
uncertainty of change. On the other hand, human beings possess an inner
drive to explore the unknown, to discover the secret and hidden, to risk and
be an adventurer. All human progress in science, commerce, navigation,
mechanics and even government stems from this latter drive -- from the
spirit of bold adventure that always nudges us to try something new.
Observe an infant at play, crawling on the floor. An infant is really an
unlearned and uninhibited adult human being. The infant will reach for
anything on the floor, will tirelessly examine its environment, and will
wail and complain when well-meaning adults thwart its attempts at discovery
and change. This is the natural state of human beings -- inquisitive,
adventurous, never at rest, always looking to tinker and improve.
In our always-uncertain world, it is natural
to crave security and stability. Financial planners, estate planners,
insurance experts and politicians in office all attempt to convince us that
the way it is now is how it will be in the future as well. However, all of
us in our secret hearts know that the only thing certain about the future is
that it will not be the same as the present. Therefore, we should be
prepared to be open to new circumstances, to a constantly changing world. We
should not be afraid to try out new technology, new ideas and theories, to
change careers and pursue our true interests and goals. There is an innate
longing for greatness within all of us. That longing can never be fulfilled
without a willingness to change, improve and try something new.
People should not fear starting a second career, even one that begins in
mid-life. Naturally, impetuous and ill-thought-out behavior can be
disastrous. But in our ever-changing society and economy, it is becoming
clear that many if not most of us will complete our working career doing
something far different than that which we had been trained for when we
first entered the workplace.
So, wise planning for the future always entails keeping an eye open for new
possibilities and situations. The world of the computer, of the Internet and
of all its attendant spin-offs, is uncharted territory. But it is the space
of the future and we should not allow ourselves to be terrified. One should
never be frightened of newfangled equipment.
The inquisitive spirit of human beings has invented a world undreamed of by
our grandparents. We live in that world, but we also should have an eye out
searching for the new world that constantly lurks beyond our field of
vision. Progress -- physical, political and spiritual -- is always
contingent upon the willingness to try something new.
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me-
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid:
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And how I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness.
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire-
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
By: Edgar Lee Masters
SimpleToRemember.com - Judaism Online