It was early Thursday evening and it had been a very long day. As I was making my way home on the Pacific Coast Highway my mind began to wander away from the present moment and onto my next task, a meeting regarding the importance of early childhood education.
It was a long day because of what it had entailed. It is never a walk in the park, when called upon to lead a funeral service. Having to bury a young man of only 52 years is heart wrenching. It seems so much more painful when a life is cut short at such a young age and acceptance of the loss takes so much longer.
As a Chabad Rabbi I am a student of the philosophy of the Baal Shemtov. Central to this path is the core belief that there are no mistakes in this universe and that all occurrences in our lifetime and before have both a reason and meaning attached.
In my case I was coming home from performing such a service for the second time in one week, when in my rear view mirror I see the flashing red and blue lights. This is when my mind kicks into Yiddish "oy" what have I done? I try so hard to be a safe driver, perhaps not hard enough! The car I was driving was not my own. Thank G-d my friend had told me where the registration papers were. In fact at the time I was wondering why he told me.
After giving the requisite documents to the officer, I rallied up the courage to ask him the reason for being pulled over. As it turns out I was observed driving with my cell phone in my hand. I have no doubt that his eyes were not deceiving him. Indeed, it has become second nature to transition from dialing a number to checking new "urgent" arriving text messages. The trap is huge just to take a “quick peek" at the "urgent" message.
Obviously before discussing the education of children, I needed to receive some education of my own. I am grateful that I was afforded this wake up call by the kind officer and for the ticket. The making of the resolution to stay focused on the road, especially the Pacific Coast Highway, that is fast moving and bicycle filled, is one that can change the course of life.
I was taught, by my teacher, that when one makes a resolution, if made to the public it is less likely to be violated or forgotten. So as part of this year’s Rosh Hashana resolution, I am announcing my implementation of a stricter and more effective phone usage regimen. One that will prevent me from making this mistake again. So for those of you who may be wondering why I am not taking your call or responding to your text message, it is most likely because I am focused on the road and perhaps the scenic view, while I cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway.
Happy and safe Labor Day