Have you heard the one about the lady on the train? It’s not so much funny in a “Ha ha” way, but funny in a “Holy crap, the universe just slapped me in the face with its gloved hand!” kind of a way.
I’ll explain. I heard the story from my Torah teacher, Devorah. A woman boarded a train, settled into her seat, took off her gloves, and placed them in her lap. As the train began to move, one glove few out the window. Devorah then asked us, “What would you do if that happened to you?”
My answer: “Hold onto the other one tighter so I don’t lose both.” Devorah revealed that the woman on the train threw her other glove out the window after the first, so that if someone found the first glove, they would have a match. (Boy did I feel selfish—but this, of course was not Devorah’s intention.) The story was not only about kindness, but selflessness as well.
Rarely do karma and God work together to reveal themselves so suddenly and obviously as after I heard this story. I heard it on Tuesday. Friday, I was at the airport for a short jaunt to warmer weather. Even though I was headed to Florida, I knew it would be cold when I arrived home Monday (and, boy, was it!). I packed my favorite red gloves for the return trip.
When I arrived at the gate for my flight, I realized one glove had fallen out of my jacket. Yes, I was annoyed and I even (instinctually) put the other glove deeper into my carry-on, thinking I didn’t want to lose that one, too. Then I smiled when I realized what was happening. I took the remaining glove up to the gate agent and said, “I lost the other one somewhere in the airport. On the off-chance someone finds it, they should have a match.” I surrendered the glove. I felt pretty good about learning and practicing my lesson in kindness.
But wait—there’s more. A few feet away, a woman was watching the “red glove scene” unfold between me and the gate agent. She approached me to say someone turned in a red glove to a vendor selling oranges in the corridor. Really? I found the vendor, and on her counter is my other red glove. Yes, the person who finds it should have a match—I just had no idea that person would be me.
That situation was no coincidence. It was a test. A test in learning, understanding, practicing, surrendering, releasing, and being rewarded, all wrapped up in a ten-minute scenario. Another teacher told me once you pass the tests life throws at you, they often disappear. Many of life’s tests are much more painful and confusing than a lost glove. But I’m so grateful to have been given this one. It was good practice for the big ones ahead. I will pray that you and I are both ready for our next big test.