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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Don't wait until it's too late to change!


Daf Yomi Kesubos 2

On a recent Sunday family trip to the mall, I was struck by how many fathers were out having fun with their kids. 

‘How wonderful,’ I thought, ‘These fellows are taking their kids out on a Sunday afternoon, bonding with them, and giving their wives a little break!’

I started chatting with one father in the next bowling lane to ours and it suddenly dawned on me: These men weren’t there because they wanted to be there; they were there because they had to be there.

There was once a man who gave his wife a gett (bill of divorce) and said, ‘I’m going away now.  If I’m not back within thirty days, may this gett take effect.’

Thirty days later, he returned, but he could not get across the river in time.

He shouted to them, ‘Look, I’m here!  Look, I’m here!’

Shmuel decreed: That is not considered arrival.  And so the gett took effect.

My friend in the adjacent bowling lane admitted sheepishly that he wasn’t out with his kids to give his wife a break.  The truth is, there was no wife.  All there was, was an ex-wife.   Weekends, he had custody of the kids and would often take them to the mall.

“Which is kind of ironic, I guess,” he pondered out loud, “When we were married, I would sit on the couch and watch the football on a Sunday afternoon while their mother would take them out.  Now that we’re divorced, I’m out with the kids every Sunday.”

All too often we hear of people who, at the eleventh hour, or the thirtieth day, cry out, ‘Look, I’m here!  Look, I’m here!’  Unfortunately, most of the time, that’s too late.  You want to make things right, but you can’t get across the river in time to stop the divorce from becoming a reality.  And so by the time you get off the couch and have turned off the football and said, ‘Look, I’m here!’ it’s too late.  If only you’d shown up and demonstrated what a great dad you could be just a little bit sooner.

Don’t be that guy!  Don’t leave it until it’s too late to shine as a husband or wife, as a father or mother!  The day will come, G-d forbid, when you will have to be that parent, whether you choose to or not.  Why not jump up off the couch and make things right now?

And of course, the same is true in every aspect of our lives.  If you’re slouching at your job today, don’t wait until the day your boss calls you in to give you the boot.  You’ll suddenly find yourself breaking your back to make ends meet.  Work a little harder now so that you’ll never see that day!  

Likewise, don’t neglect your health today.  Exercise regularly, eat properly.  Don’t wait for the day the doctor tells you your blood pressure is too high or you’ve got diabetes and all of a sudden you have to completely remove salt or sugar from your diet.  Cut back today.  Everything in moderation and you will live a long, healthy life!

Making the right decisions early in the piece can make all the difference later.  You don’t want to be forced into a certain lifestyle decision simply because you weren’t prepared to step up to the plate when you had the chance.  May you merit choosing to do the right thing today and may you achieve happiness and satisfaction all the days of your life!