I have a lot to learn from my children.
I take the same route home from work every day. Each day, as I'd turn a certain corner, my children would cheer from their seats, "I wanna see the balloons!" And as we'd pass by the store with the balloons right outside the window, they'd shout out happily, "balloons, balloons!"
Usually, there were balloons outside the store window. But some days, they weren't there. Those days were disappointing to them.
"Maybe tomorrow the balloons will be there," I'd reassure them.
And usually, by the time the next afternoon came around, there they were, swaying in the wind, giving my children such simple, untainted pleasure.
It's been a really long time since we've seen those balloons. I can't even remember the last time I turned the corner and those balloons were flying in the wind. Maybe some time in the summer? Maybe longer?
But my children do not give up. Every day, as we turn that corner, they say, "Maybe today we'll see the balloons!"
And when we pass the store and the balloons aren't there, they always have something to say, some hope to hold on to.
"Maybe they're blowing up the balloons."
"Maybe we'll see them tomorrow."
"Maybe they needa buy more balloons for us."
But tomorrow comes and the balloons still aren't there.
My children are so disappointed. You could hear it in their voices as I turn the corner and pass the store.
Yet...they still come up with excuses, with reasons...and they are still so very hopeful. Hopeful that the day will come when I will turn the corner and the balloons will be back, back in their familiar place, giving my children the pleasure and enjoyment they used to get from looking at them.
The two second pleasure they would take with them for the rest of the ride home. "We saw the balloons today!"
They're waiting for that day to come. And they aren't giving up. They're holding on to the smallest thread of hope.
I'm learning from them.
No matter what happens, no matter what goes on, there is always hope.
We are now in the month of Kislev, approaching the yom tov of Chanukah. Perhaps one message we can take from this is the message of hope. That no matter how dark life seems, no matter how dark life is, there is always hope.
The chashmonaim searched through the devastation and rubble, through the destruction and the mess...and at last...they found one jug of oil. They didn't give up. They kept searching until they found what they were looking for.
I look to my past and I see those brave Jews who persevered, never giving up hope.
I look ahead of me, at my precious little children and I see innocence in their eyes. My children never give up hope.
And so...neither will I.