I’m struggling with balancing family, work, synagogue. I’m working hard to train new employees so that I can achieve that balance of life. I’m happy and I remember to Make Every Day a Friday, but I struggle with the challenge of finding a silver lining everywhere. I often feel an urgent need to change and improve the world. It’s impossible to stand still, not physically, but mentally, and it’s impossible to just stand back and let someone else do some good deeds. Even when I felt disconnected from synagogue life, I never felt comfortable just picking up a paycheck. It’s not who I am- I am no superhero, but I have superpowers to do great things. I cannot fly, but I have the great power to raise three happy and kind children. I cannot weave straw into gold like Rumpelstiltskin, but I can bring hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of closed business to my business friends. I am not a millionaire, money-wise, but I am able to enrich your life with my coffee roasting ability and my business teaching. And I am not a famous Cantor who wows crowds with my massive operatic voice, but I have the superpower to inspire a bar mitzvah student who cares little for his religion to lift his voice to God and feel like he is part of something bigger.
You and I have tremendous power, good power, to do well in the world, and if you have that power, you must use it. It is a burden. Every superhero story has a back story where the hero, although endowed with superhuman powers, needs some encouragement and understanding of her responsibilities in the world. The superhero sheds his powers for awhile, but something always calls them back- someone is in danger and their superpowers must save the day or save the world. They say, “Why can’t I just live in peace? Why can’t people just leave me alone?” They travel to some faraway land to stay on the proverbial mountain and rethink their life’s purpose.
What are your superpowers? What makes you special? When you find that power or powers, just feed it constantly. There is a Jewish saying from the Ethics of our Fathers, “Rabbi Tarfon used to say: It is not upon you to complete the task, but you are not free to idle from it.” The point is is that even with your superpowers, you are not obligated to save the world completely, that is not for only one person, but you are not allowed to completely neglect the task.
So, it’s simplistic to say, be happy, and find blessings in your life. However, what should truly make you smile or bring you greater peace is that you’re changing and improving the lives around you. If you’re a business owner, sometimes it seems like you’re running a business to support your employees. But as depressing as that can be when you’re not pulling a salary from the business, you are improving the lives of your employees with your teaching and helping to sustain them. You’re bringing them peace, happiness, and giving them reasons to hope for the future.
All heroes and superheroes eventually need therapy to bring them out of a slump. If you can leap tall buildings you should be able to work through your problems. But every hero needs a therapist- either a real therapist or a friend who sees the good in them and helps them achieve their best. Who’s your superhero therapist? If you are a member of the clergy and are feeling that your message is not reaching your congregants effectively, who helps you find your way again? Who picks you up and refuels your superpowers?
What is your lifelong goal? To realize and actualize your superpowers. Share with your friends when you are feeling powerless. We need more people in the world to use their G-d given powers. We need your help with the plight of the directionless, despondent, lost, friendless, and the spiritually, economically, and emotionally needy. Find that superhero costume, don it, and go save the world.