Thursday, May 19, 2016

Man Plans; G-d Laughs




In my opinion, every man, or woman as the case may be, needs to plan. Otherwise nothing would ever get done. However, while planning it’s important to remember that those plans will only come to fruition if HaShem wants them to. This past week I had that lesson hammered into my head over and over again.

It all began Sunday morning when I decided to skip my errands and leave Jerusalem early. I was motivated by the fact that I wanted to get to the Shilo clinic well before it closed at 1:30. Since I have an appointment scheduled for a routine ultrasound the following week I need to get a voucher from my health fund. My idea was once I had that voucher in hand I’d update the appointment. There’s nothing like being able to cross those necessary tests off my to-do list.


Unfortunately, twenty-five minutes after I boarded the Shilo bus I found myself at a major traffic jam right before the turn-off to Hizme. Hizme is a small Arab town and the road of about seven kilometers between it and Adam, an equally small Jewish town, is often clogged with trucks, buses, and private cars.

I sat patiently for a few minutes, but only a few. Turning to the soldier sitting across the aisle I asked him to use the smart phone he was playing with to check Waze. How long would it take us to get home?

“It’s not a traffic problem,” he told me. “The police are blocking things.”

“A suspicious object?"

“Apparently,” he nodded and returned to his game.

Suspicious objects are complicated things. Most of the time they are nothing more than a suspicious object that inconveniences everyone waiting for the army sappers to come neutralize it. Sometimes, though, there really are bombs. I tried to ignore the fact that our bus was stuck just several hundred meters from the spot where an army officer, Shahar ben Ayelet, was seriously injured from improvised explosive devises six days earlier. Instead, I kept reminding myself that everything is for the best.
An IED courtesy of Jewish Press. com

I visited with my seatmate, made some phone calls, and recited several chapters of psalms. Finally, following a half an hour wait, the bus’s wheels began rolling again. We, the passengers, were not privy to an explanation for the delay. Some surmised it was due to the arrest of the terrorists who had planted the roadside bombs on May 11th, but I think that had happened the night before. Whatever the reason, our driver did his best to make up for lost time and I was in Shilo at five minutes past one. There would be plenty of time to process my voucher.

However, I was in for a surprise when I entered the clinic. There was no secretary! Whatever her personal needs were for leaving early at noon I was not going to receive my voucher. There would be no crossing off the ultrasound until the following week. Just like on the bus I reminded myself that everything is for the best.

The following day a family member had a routine procedure in the outpatient clinic of one of the Jerusalem hospitals. After a few hours we were home but instead of carrying out my plans for the rest of the day we returned to the hospital. There had been some complications and the procedure needed to be redone. Since the outpatient clinic had already shut down for the afternoon we had to enter the system via the emergency room.

What followed was twenty-five hours of tortuous waits, total loss of privacy, and the need to constantly remind ourselves that everything is for the best. The second procedure went as needed and once we finally received the letter of release we fled from the hospital like children running out of school.

Full of thankfulness that the problem had not been more complicated or life-threatening I realized something else. Had I arrived in Shilo Sunday morning early enough to get my voucher I would have changed my ultrasound appointment. And had I changed my ultrasound appointment I wouldn’t have been able to keep it.

Everything is for the best even though many times it’s hard to understand why. I know I’ll continue to make plans. When they don’t work out I’ll try to stay positive. And when they do, I hope I’ll remember to thank HaShem for allowing them to do so.