The French are proud of their high couture and
cuisine, the English have their fixation with propriety and political
institutions, the Americans' greatest passion is their pop culture.
And here, in Canada, we obsess over... the weather!
Rarely will a conversation pass without some mention
of the weather. The weather makes the top headlines in the news
and is broadcasted several times a day. Nor can you blame us Canadians
for this mania, living as we do in a country that experiences such
extreme changes -- from hot, humid summers, to blistering cold,
On days when the sun shines, people's faces shine
brightly as they express how happy the warmth makes them feel. And
on days when the clouds loom dark above us, when the winds gust
and the rainstorms pound the pavement, you'll hear conversations
about headaches pounding on throbbing temples. Tempers will flare
as the atmosphere becomes as dark and gloomy indoors as it is outdoors
-- all due, of course, to the weather!
After all, aren't we all products of our environment,
allowing the outside atmosphere to permeate within?
Each of us has his days.
There are days when I feel like the sun is smiling
down on me. Just about everything is going right.
My kids and husband are happy, generous and loving.
My car starts with hardly a purr and drives uneventfully through
calm traffic. My friends call just to share a kind word and strangers
smile at me at the grocery checkout counter. If I'm really lucky,
I'll even get a compliment from my boss at work.
I'm riding the clouds, exulting in the love and
kindness around me. On these days, I smile inwardly and luxuriate
Then there are days when everything seems to be
going wrong. The dinner burns. My favorite outfit no longer fits
properly. My creativity is stymied, my work unproductive. My children
are complaining. And to top it off, my car gets a flat tire.
On those days, I want to crawl into a corner and
never come out. I feel like an empty, valueless thing. Any self-love
or self-worth has utterly vanished.
Last week, on just such a day, my usually cheerful
daughter came home from school completely despondent. Slowly and
reluctantly, she pulled out a test paper from her knapsack and,
with downcast eyes, asked me to sign it. She was trying to fold
over her low grade, but I need not have even seen the crumpled paper.
The sad look in her eyes told me more than any number on a paper
Her grade made her feel like a valueless failure,
not worthy of being loved.
Looking down at my precious daughter, understanding
so well her inner turmoil, I wondered how I could convey to her
that she was loved despite any failed endeavor. Being so intimately
familiar with those feelings myself at the time, I knew how important
it was for me to reach into her sad eyes and explain to her that
she was worth so much more than red pen marks on a paper. That no
event in her day -- or in her life, for that matter -- would take
away from her intrinsic worth. That nothing would diminish from
who or what she was, or of how deserving of love she was.
Certainly, I feel proud of her accomplishments
when she succeeds. But that is pride, not love. Of course I prod
her to exert her greatest efforts and extend herself to her limits.
But all that is only ways of finding expressions for her talents
None of her successes or failures increases or
diminishes one iota of her intrinsic worth as a creation of G-d,
or the love that I will always unconditionally feel for her as my
And as I spoke to my precious daughter, I, too,
realized that though it is up to us to try our best and exert ourselves
to the utmost, no grade, no failing on our part and no negative
circumstance in our lives can ever affect our intrinsic worth as
a beloved child of G-d.
Somehow, despite the dark clouds of our Canadian
weather outdoors, I no longer felt any desire to crawl into a corner.
The room was filled with too much sunshine.