IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE


Image from the book IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE A Yiddish Folk Tale written and illustrated by Margot Zemach

When my kids were little I used to love reading them the Yiddish folktale by Margot Zemach called "It Could Always be Worse."


You may be familiar with it: a couple is miserable living in their cramped quarters with their many children so they go to the rabbi for advice. The rabbi tells them to bring a goat inside the house. They're confused, but do as he says. Of course, they are even more miserable once they are living with their many children AND a goat, so they go back to the rabbi to complain. The rabbi tells them to bring a sheep into the house; I forget the exact order of the story, but each time they go to complain they are instructed to bring in another animal - a chicken, a cow, maybe something else... the house becomes utterly unlivable and they can't take it anymore. They beg the rabbi for help and finally he tells them to let all the animals out of the house. The couple sighs a huge sigh of relief, lets the animals out and are ecstatic to be living in their now spacious-feeling dwelling with just the family.


They are back to the beginning, but with a new perspective.


Are we that couple?


We had so many complaints and challenges before March 2020. But when Covid_19 was thrust into our lives, our suffering went to a whole new level. And just as we were coming to terms with that crisis, riots, violence and chaos erupted, destroying much of what had been left standing after the pandemic had done its first sweep. May we be spared from further harm!


But one day, when all this is over, when it's quiet and safe and peaceful again, our lives will seem amazing!


Just as it was for the couple in the story, we will find everything that is the same will look different and all our blessings will become enormous in our eyes. Perhaps we'll have the attitude and gratitude at that point that we should have had earlier.


Maybe ordinary challenges are the best after all and maybe we were rich the whole time. Yes, we were rich the whole time.

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