I have seen a decent number of films in my life. One of them that became iconic for me was “The Frisco Kid.” In it, a young, somewhat foolish, certainly naive new rabbi is sent by his eastern European yeshiva to serve a congregation in San Francisco. Our hero, played by Gene Wilder, arrives in the US in Philadelphia and the film covers his journey across the US where he meets the Amish (and thinks they are chassidim), a thief (Harrison Ford), and Indians, among others. He has many adventures.
At one point, the Indians, having decided that he was worthy of continuing to live because of his courage in preserving his sefer torah, ask him to ask his G-d to make it rain. It seems there has been a very long drought and they have prayed and danced and drummed, all to no avail. Our hero says, “My G-d doesn’t work like that,” meaning that he did not believe that his prayers would produce the much desired rain on demand. They insist he pray. He responds again, “My G-d doesn’t work like that” and then the heavens open up and the rain begins to fall- lots of it- and the people are ecstatic, and our hero says “…and sometimes, just like that, He changes His mind.”
I think of that whenever I am in a situation that seems hopeless. Things are not going well and despite a lot of effort, nothing seems to help. And then, all of a sudden, things get better. It happens to therapy clients. It happens to people in interpersonal relationships. It happens to people who are learning to do something that is awkward and difficult and then suddenly, it is second nature.
Life seems sometimes to offer discontinuous results. Things pop out of the air– things that one might have wished or hoped or prayed or worked hard for- and suddenly, at the most unexpected time, they happen. Good things.
Each year, just before Rosh HaShana I try to think of what I would like to wish those I love. Maybe this year, it be that these types of wonderful surprises will happen for them.