A few days ago, the residents of Hannaton were invited to a “happening” at our community garden: an afternoon of weeding, making pita on the fire, and eating vegetables straight out of our plots.
The invitation asked people to bring materials from their homes for the event: large bowl, flour, salt, cooking pan, knife, onions, spades, etc.
My children (quite excited for this event) and I were one of the first to arrive, materials in hand: bowl, flour, and salt.
As one of the adults started the fire and another adult started chopping the vegetables from her plot, my kids started to make dough from the flour that we brought.
Now, while some people brought the exact-amount-of-already-made-dough from home only for themselves, I brought 2 unopened packages of flour (which basically amount to something like 20 pitas at least!).
Within minutes, our dough was ready and my kids each placed their own on the “saj” (see picture).
Holding my bowl filled high, random kids came over to me to ask for some dough.
“Sure”, I said to the first kid, with an open heart.
“Sure”, I said to the second, with a smile.
“Sure”, I said to the third kid, as my heart started to close, thinking: what’s going on here? Am I the dough provider?
I started to get frustrated.
This situation is not fair!
Yup. I was stuck.
At this beautiful happening.
(Ok, I have to stop here for a moment, and admit that I feel VERY ridiculous having been stuck on injustice knowing there is real injustice happening in this world all the time, like:
When someone completes work they were contracted to do and doesn’t get paid for it, or
When someone is robbed and the robber doesn’t get caught.
Now, those are injustices!
So, when they talk about “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, this is a GREAT example.
Truly, I wanted to yell at myself, “Give me a break, Shira!”)
I did try to consider:
Perhaps the parents didn’t know they were supposed to bring ingredients to make the dough?
(No, everyone in the community received the email.)
Perhaps the parents didn’t have the materials in their homes to bring?
(No, we have a small shop in our community and they could have easily picked up flour.)
Needing help to get unstuck, I decided to share my stuck story with the organizer of the event.
I warned her, that my “stuck” situation was really ridiculous, and I encouraged her to help me see it differently.
She shared a lot of information with me that helped me see the situation from her eyes, but one of the things I learned from her is that in situations like these, is that each person needs to bring the amount that he/she is comfortable with, assuming he may be asked to share with others. She suggested that in the future I should consider planning this way. And, if in the end, there’s not enough to go around because people didn’t bring what was requested, then so be it. They will learn for next time.
She was right.
And, at the same time, she helped me realize all the other people who played a major role in the event:
those who organized it,
those who made and cared for the fire,
the person who brought the cooking pan and olive oil,
the person who brought the knife and cutting board,
those who cut and shared vegetables from their own garden,
the person who cut up the vegetables,
the people who cooked the vegetables and the pita on the fire,
the person who introduced my daughter to sautéed onion, chard, and fennel to top on her pita.
All of the above, that I didn’t do.
That I didn’t even think to do.
And, that my children and I benefited from because of the good heartedness of others in our community.
And, in realizing this, I see how embarrassing I was to be stuck on injustice in the first place.
And realized that the next time I (or anyone else) cries out injustice, we must first look at ourselves and see what role we may have played in the scene.
Because it seems that perhaps more times than not, there is a choice for the once crying “injustice!”.
So, maybe next time I’ll choose to bring a little bit less flour.
Or, maybe I’ll bring the same amount, but know in advance that I’m bringing that amount, on purpose, to share with all of those who forgot to bring.
And realize that I can “just” be happy.