Putting Out The Fire

By Chana-Chaya Klein



How do we know how to handle difficult life situations? Where do these quandaries come from? Are we under some kind of eternal guidance and protection?


Almost ready for bed in my coyote fur coat, I remembered that I did not yet take my supplements, which I keep in the bathroom. The house was freezing from the after-effects of the hurricane that ravaged Teaneck two days before. We had no power, no lights and no heat. The only heat I had was from the fur coat that I was wearing, and the only light, other than a flashlight, were the Yartzeit candles lit up in each room.


Realizing I had forgotten to take my night supplements, I returned to the bathroom. As I entered the doorway, I watched an extra-absorbent paper towel being sucked into the Yartzeit candle by the wind that was blowing through the tiny window cracks. The towel burst into flames right before my eyes. I felt paralyzed, not able to call out, or even move. I felt my right arm reaching out to grab the flames, directing them into the bathroom sink, oblivious to the burns I was getting on that hand. My left hand grabbed the cold-water faucet and turned on the water. The hot flames turned into black thick ashes under the water and spread out all over the counter and the floor.


How uncanny that I walked into that room at exactly that moment. Had I not, my house might have burned down or at least suffered considerable fire damage. I just happened to remember that I had forgotten my supplements and went to retrieve them less than a second before the fire blazed up. It was exactly at the right moment.


The darkness and freezing cold of the night blurred the serendipity of the timing of what had just occurred.


But after five days, when we got back our electric power and life was getting back to normal, I told a friend what happened.

“Hashem is really watching over you.” She told me.


But who made the paper towel go in flames in the first place?


Is it God only when we are being saved?


Is it God only when we feel protected?


Isn’t it all from the Almighty? - The solution and the problem, too?


We all have really tough situations in our lives. Or maybe it is the work that I do that makes me think that. People bring their troubles to me and I work with them to fix it.


In another life situation that I am experiencing now, a person who knows how difficult it has been, asked me what I am going to do. There are times when I do not see how to “put out the fire” as I did that night in the bathroom


There are some life situations that present themselves to which there is no solution as simple as directing something on fire into a sink and turning on the water. We can’t always know what is the next best step.


So what do we do? What do I do?

Is it possible that not only the solutions are from The Master of the Universe, but that the problems are from Him as well?


We see that from the beginning of time. In our prayer book, we refer to God as the God who took us out of Egypt. We say that several times each day.


But who sent us down to Egypt in the first place? We read in the Torah that God told Abraham that his children will be slaves in Egypt for 400 years. Clearly, God sent us to Egypt. It was supposed to be part of our development.


God often saves us. But He also is the one who puts us in places where we need His salvation, where we experience our growth, as an individual, and as a nation.


So what are we to do when we can’t see the answer before us? I know that just as the answers are from God, so too are the problems. I believe that I get exactly the problems that will make my soul stretch and grow. Each thing that happens to me is part of my life journey. Each is an occasion in which I have to prevail, to overcome, to resolve, to figure out, and sometimes to just trust.


I am aware that not rushing to a solution at this time, not rushing to put out the fires that life brings me, will allow the solutions to unfold and that what I have to do will be revealed. There will be, to me, no doubt about what to do when it is the right time to do something.


It is all part of my life journey, it is exactly the way it is supposed to be. Ribbomo Shel Olam is with me every second, crying with me, laughing with me, waiting with me, and letting me lean on Him.


Just as I had entered that bathroom at the exact moment needed to put out that fire, I believe that My Creator will be there for me and steer me in some way, at exactly the right moment, to help me deal with the fires that rise up at the tough times in my life.


Copyright © 2010 COPYRIGHT CHANA KLEIN. All rights reserved.



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