Furthermore, all these people could've utilized those same alternatives years ago — and while challenging & painful then, those same alternatives demand much more pain & effort now.
But they do exist and always existed.
And I saw all different examples of this, whether relationships, health, location, work, and much more.
Hashem also showed me a couple of examples of people utilizing their alternatives early on, when it was a steep hill but not yet a craggy mountain.
But mostly I saw people dealing with hills that had turned into mountains over time — mountains that really needed to be climbed in order to solve their issues and go on to their next step in life...but seemed too formidable to be a realistic option.
It was only after the most recent (and most baffling) interaction that I realized Hashem wanted to send me a very important message.
Too Hot and Too Far...Huh?
She spoke about her desire to move to Eretz Yisrael with her husband and children.
A lot of factors lay in her favor: her Hebrew was already pretty good for someone who didn't live in Eretz Yisrael, she had a degree & copious experience with a profession in tremendous demand in Eretz Yisrael (a job she also loved & excelled in), her husband was fluent in Hebrew and also had a transferrable job.
Their kids were still young and flexible, already knew some Hebrew, and they had family here—family they liked and got along with well.
And with their strong finances, they could pick their city of choice with a very comfortable home.
I mentioned a city here known for its thriving Anglo population, plus its schools and services catered to English-speakers, plus the Anglo community always impressed me as warm, welcoming, and supportive.
"The thing is," she said, "that city is really far from our family here."
"Really?" I said, puzzled.
You see, Israel is smaller than the state of New Jersey, so nothing seems THAT far...unless you're driving from Eilat in the South to Kiryat Shemoneh in the North, or something extreme like that.
"Yeah," she said. "That city you mentioned is a NINETY-MINUTE drive to our Israeli relatives. Ninety!"
I stared at her speechless for a moment.
She leaned forward and said, "We did it. It was a looooong drive."
"Yeah, uh, wow," I said. "Um, I guess I'm just surprised to hear that because I always thought that in America, really long commutes to work and school are the norm. I guess I didn't think about a 90-minute drive to spend Shabbos somewhere as...long."
So she explained that where she lived, their commutes were pretty short. Even their shul was just down the street.
"Okay," I said pleasantly. Then, knowing she only saw her Israeli family every 5 years or so, I added in a good-humored way, "That's still better than a 15-hour flight, right? Ha, ha, ha..."
"Yeah, that's what everyone tells me," she admitted. "And it's true...but still."
I gave her an understanding nod and suggested, "There may be other suitable communities closer to your Israeli family."
She gave me a skeptical smile before continuing.
"Also, it's really HOT here," she added. "I don't know if I could handle it."
I stared at her, again lost for words.
What she said made no sense because she lived in one of the most unpleasantly hottest places in the USA.
How could Israel be considered unbearably hot to someone like her? It didn't make sense.
"Oh," I finally managed to say. "Um...I remember living where you live and I found going outdoors just unbearable...and that was in the winter."
"Oh," she said, laughing, "you're always in air-conditioning! You never really feel it."
I knew this was not true.
People in her area go to outdoor restaurants, use their backyards, go to the beach (which is still unbearably hot despite the ocean winds), and host outdoor parties.
However, she honestly perceived Israel as being "too hot" to live comfortably.
Furthermore, where she is from, people think they need to take a sweater with them when the temperature his 60F/15C.
In parts of America, Canada, and Great Britain, everyone heads to the beach at that same temperature.
Yet people come in droves from those areas to live in Eretz Yisrael.
Furthermore, I even knew a person from Norway who happily lived in hot 'n' humid Tel Aviv.
So altogether, the above reasons made no sense (especially since solutions to these issues exist).
Even given the difference between different kinds of heat (i.e., a person used to humid heat often finds dry heat difficult, and vice-versa), but Israel hosts popular cities in both kinds of heat (eg., Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak are humid; Jerusalem is dry; Beit Shemesh in in-between).
Was she lying?
Other than this, she proved herself to be a refreshingly honest & straightforward person throughout our time together.
So what was going on?
Our unconscious mind often brings "fake" or minor issues to the forefront, convincing us these are our real issues & reasons...while the true issues remain tucked away underneath.
So what I think she really meant is that while she feels she should come to live in Eretz Yisrael, her Diaspora life is so comfortable and fulfilling, she doesn't want to leave it.
And I understand that. Really, it's so understandable.
FYI Note: I was not pressuring her to make aliyah. SHE brought it up, not me. Also, who knows if she's really even Jewish? So I'm talking about her ideals and her reasoning, not mine.
It would have been easier to make aliyah at the beginning of her marriage.
So here was this extremely likeable, intelligent, and positive person offering insensible reasons for not fulfilling a beneficial ideal.
In other words, she could do it. It would probably be better for them if they did. (Again, I don't know all their ins-and-outs, but it looked like it would be a good move.)
But it seemed too big. It demanded too much sacrifice. The transition period would likely be long and grueling...though worth it in the end.
And therein lay the lesson for me.
It's Significantly Harder Now, But Still Possible
A decent gym stood nearby, as did good paths for power-walking in the abundant good weather.
Combined with a healthy diet, this person could have lost the necessary weight within a short amount of time.
But the person only made brief stabs at losing weight without ever confronting or dealing deeply with the issues behind the overeating.
At 50, she finds herself vastly more overweight with fat that's not easy to lose at her age.
Because of both age and the sheer amount of pounds necessary to shed, a weight-loss program will be much more grueling and take a long time.
However, though much easier when younger, it IS still possible to lose the copious weight and to do so at her age.
The alternative, though significantly more formidable, always existed and STILL exists.
It's still possible.
Much harder? Yes.
But still possible.
Yet Again: It's Not about Their Issues, But My Own
Alternatives & solutions to their problems existed, but because they never pushed themselves to take full advantage, those same alternatives proved much more formidable and grueling as time passed.
Over time, their steep hill turned into a craggy mountain.
The alternatives now demanded much more determination, courage, sacrifice, and a much longer and more grueling transition period.
And I knew Hashem wanted me to look in my own life for those hard alternatives that seemed closed, but are really open...just a LOT more demanding and formidable than they would've been had I utilized them years ago.
And I found some.
And I'm still wrestling with exactly how to deal with them.
But at least I got the message.
That's better than nothing.
You're My Inspiration
It could've been a superior self-righteous post (or a contemplative lecturing post) about the oh-so pathetic state of the world and how OTHER people (not moi, of course—sarc!) are SO messed up.
And how "people" are soooooo in denial and need to get in touch with THEMselves, and develop more self-awareness...blah, blah, blah. (As if I am not a "people" myself, but something more superior, ha-ha.)
I could rant about how people make excuses rather than getting down to business and doing the hard work.
And that would be missing the point.
Hashem was not showing me all this to increase my feelings of superiority or enable me to take pride in the powers of observation, or to turn it all into a lecture on the faults of others.
He wanted me to know about my own hill-turned-mountain.
Or, rather, hills-turned-mountains.
(Yep. There's more than one...gulp! Wish me luck...)