by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
A few years ago on a trip to New York an interesting thing happened both on the way there and again on the way back. After the plane had already pulled away from the gate, the captain announced that there was a delay due to a "maintenance signal problem".
Apparently that meant that a flashing light had indicated that there could be some mechanical issue which required investigation. After everything was properly checked and the necessary paper work completed, the pilot was given the all clear to travel. It was later explained that in all probability the signal was nothing more than a superficial fault in the lighting system. Nevertheless no chances could be taken and the inconvenience of waiting on the runway was worth it in order to have peace of mind that everything was in perfect order.
Everything that we experience and observe has a lesson to be learned.
Our body also sends us maintenance signals reminding us that it is time to stop, reflect, and ensure that everything is in order. These signals manifest themselves in stress, minimal anxiety, sudden small bursts of anger or irritability and fatigue. These symptoms do not make us dysfunctional. The engine is still working and we are able to function normally and continue with our daily routine. We could choose to ignore the warning signs and carry on.
But like with a plane that would be irresponsible. We should consider ourselves fortunate to be given small reminders before we fall apart completely with serious damage and dysfunction. The responsible course of action is to stop the plane to ensure that everything is in order.
When we first notice these maintenance signals we need to conduct a thorough investigation. It is a good time to stop, reflect and ask ourselves some hard questions. Some of those questions on the maintenance checklist include:
- Are we eating and exercising appropriately?
- Are we striking a balance between focusing at work and spending time with our family and loved ones?
- Are we becoming self absorbed in our career and not doing things for other people?
- Are we feeding our souls as well as the body by taking some time to study, pray or doing a mitzvah?
At this stage we might only need minor repair work. Once everything is checked out and we are back in focus we are ready to keep travelling through the experiences of life.