Gratitude, by Tzvi
I am so thankful for the vent fan on the overhead microwave, above the stove in my apartment. Besides the occasional need to dispel burning remnants of food on the stovetop, the vent allows me to diminish the different types of distractions outside of my apartment. These distractions include my neighbor who likes to listen to music at high volumes with his door open, as well as my other neighbor who watches sports games and movies, while sitting in his doorway. Needless to say, between the loud disco beats, the shouts of victory with every homerun or touchdown, as well as the melodramatic music, I would not be able to read, pray or study, were it not for my multipurpose fan.
H’Shem made the world with built in solutions to what each of us may consider to be the personal challenges of our lives. He will always provide a way to escape the pitfalls of our circumstances, so that we can bear the nisyanos (trial). Moreover, it is written in the Talmud that the remedy precedes the ailment. Case in point, I moved three doors down at the apartment complex, into my refurbished apartment with the microwave, inclusive of my ever-faithful fan, months before my new neighbors moved in. Baruch H’Shem. (Thank G-d).
This means that there is no resentment necessary on my part, when I happen to step outside of my door and run into one of my noisy neighbors. I can take it upon myself to politely smile, while fulfilling the commandment to a lesser degree, to love my neighbor. Yet, I also acknowledge that tolerance would be a lot more challenging without my fan that serves as white noise against a background of distractions that would otherwise irritate me, cause me to lose my patience, and, ultimately, my shalom (peace of mind). My only regret is that my fan serves as a crutch, inasmuch that instead of improving upon my ability to concentrate by ignoring the distractions, and focusing on the task at hand, I simply push a button so that I instantly have an insular, distraction free environment. There are always tradeoffs.