By Joshua Levy
An especially important time of year to reflect on what it means to say, “…and it would have been enough for us” is during the Passover holiday. The idea stems from the part of the story when God delivers Moses and the enslaved Israelites out of Egyptian bondage to the Promised Land. Pressuring Pharoah to let Moses’s people go, God issued 10 plagues. The Israelites proclaimed, “Had there been only nine plagues, that would been enough for us. Had there been only eight plagues, that would have been enough for us…”
While my overall outlook on life is filled with optimism, on occasion I allow myself to wander down the path of beating myself up while hiding under a rock, sometimes for a few seconds, and sometimes for several weeks. A source of spiritual inspiration for me in my times of sadness, frustration, uncertainty, self-doubt, and that just-down-right-funky-blue feeling when nothing seems to be going right should be “…and it would have been enough for me.”
A few years ago, I projected that year’s Fall operating budget for Joshua’s Stage – the nonprofit organization for which I am the Executive Director – was going to run into a $20,000 deficit due to a lower enrollment in our programs than we originally forecasted and charging too low for our programs. The projection became a reality with real consequences including me uttering the words, “We’re suspending our operations beginning next week, and we hope to resume in a couple of months.” Fortunately, we worked out creative solutions to sustain programming until we could get back on solid financial ground.
The seconds, days, and weeks after I spoke out loud of our financial bump in the road, I immersed myself in a wallow of self-pity along with self-imposed dreaded walls of avoidance. My head felt like a giant bowling ball made of runny oatmeal, my stomach craved comfort food, and my emotional reservoir was dried up like a Texas 10-year drought. I probably looked like a blueberry given that I was so entrenched in that just-down-right-blue feeling because nothing seemed to be going right. While I was busy dwelling, several sources of support were trying to break down my emotional walls of stone including my family and supporters of Joshua’s Stage. It wasn’t until my wife said something to me to the effect of, “Hey, you haven’t said anything to us in days. Don’t you think it’s time?” And the walls came tumbling down.
With the bricks of sadness, gloom, and doom smothered to bits at my feet, I experienced a flood of renewed energy combined with elation, refreshment, a clear head free of runny oatmeal and bowling balls, and hundreds of pounds of determination. In the months that followed Joshua’s Stage resumed operations while building a financially sustainable operating model. To this day, even during these times of economic challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Joshua’s Stage is flourishing.
Hold. Stop. Freeze the scene. Reflecting deeper into the clear waters of introspection, in future times of woe, I will close my eyes, take three deep breaths, and recite, “Had you just given me my health, my wife, our children, our dogs, my parents, my sister, my aunts and uncles, my wife’s family, our neighbors, and many, many more, it would have been enough for me.”
Joshua Levy is the President of Joshua Levy Educational Consulting. Joshua works with parents, educators, and children’s museums who are seeking to strengthen their relationships with individuals with special needs. Joshua is also the Founder/Executive Director of Joshua’s Stage – an enrichment program for individuals with a wide range of special needs, featuring: after-school programs; camps; workshops, and individual enrichment programs in theatre arts, improv, arts and crafts, music, dance, photography, and create-a-story. Joshua’s innovative The Creative Outlet Method includes strategies for providing children with the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity, increase their self-confidence, and build their social skills. Joshua’s book, The Creative Outlet Method Book of Creativity: At-Home Activities for Children with Special Needs is a fabulous resource for parents, educators, and therapists. Contact Joshua at [email protected].