Choosing between the good and the best

Today my husband and I went to Jerusalem for a morning meeting.  When we were planning our day on the bus ride there, my husband had suggested we go to the Kotel – I haven’t been there since we moved here, and he felt it was an especially important time for us to do this and pray for our family before Yom Kippur.  I agreed with him that it would be a meaningful thing to do and a valuable use of our limited time in Jerusalem.

But when our appointment was over and we were back to the Central Bus Station to get a bus to the Kotel, I reassessed.  Whenever I come to Jerusalem (this is the fifth time in over a year), it’s kind of stressful.  There are only three buses that leave early in the morning from Karmiel, and just two buses in the early to mid afternoon that go from Jerusalem to Karmiel.  So I get up super early each time to get to Jerusalem as soon as possible, and from the minute I get there I’m rushing from one thing to another, trying to squeeze in everything I possibly can before the last bus at 4:25.  It’s exhausting and draining and though I feel productive each time, it’s not fun.

But this time I was feeling sick and nauseous from having so little sleep and nothing to eat and hardly anything to drink (because it’s not a good idea to drink before a three hour bus ride with no rest stops!).  And I told my husband that what I really wanted to do was to go home on the first bus and until then, to get something to eat and for the two of us to have a chance to talk without being rushed or needing to do something.  This is what really felt like the best thing to do.  He agreed.

To make this decision, we needed to assess what was the good and what was the best, and to choose the best.  Sometimes this is a hard decision to make because the good things in our lives look so good – doesn’t taking time for spirituality and connection to G-d at the holiest place in the world seem like a really good idea, especially right before Yom Kippur?  Of course it is!  But taking time to nurture ourselves physically and make time for our relationship, to talk without interruption and without being rushed to do something else, was even more important for us right then.

This is something that looks different for each person, and will look different for the same person on different days or even at different points on the same day!  When we made the choice that was in alignment with our true priorities and needs, a feeling of calm filled us.  We’ve had several important issues to take care of lately that have required a lot of time and energy on our part, and pausing for renewal was the the right thing to do to balance ourselves as a couple right now.

Often the good things seem so compelling that we let them override our sense of what the best thing for us is in that moment.  It’s not always easy to identify what is the best choice at this moment, and it’s certainly not always clear. But it’s always worthwhile!


4 thoughts on “Choosing between the good and the best

  1. I often find myself in the same situation. Travelling to Jerusalem for a certain purpose and feeling like I should go to the Kotel. However, if it is not on my agenda from the beginning I cannot push myself to travel to the Old City. FUrther, I look at Jerusalem being two cities- the Old and the New. If I am only going to be in the New part so then going to the Kotel is not a realistic option. If I am going to be in the Old City then of course I will go to the Kotel.

    1. You’re so right – Jerusalem is so big that I have to adjust my thinking when I’m there. Here I can jump on a bus and go to the end of Karmiel in a fairly short time but you can easily spend an hour on a bus to get from the CBS to a neighborhood that’s more on the outskirts.

  2. Avivah,
    You expressed this so beautifully and it is such an important way to think. Wishing you and the family a year full of brachah. Susan

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