The wisest of all men – King Solomon, teaches in his work Mishlei (Proverbs 13:12), “Hope deferred (a drawn out hope) makes the heart sick, but a desire that is realised is a tree of life!” Rashi explains this to refer to to someone who trusts in his friend to help him – but he does not; but when a desire is realised, it is like a tree of life – this refers to God who awaits for the Jewish people to return to Him (through the observance of mitzvot, the study of Torah, acts of goodness and kindness to others etc.) but they don’t return; in the end it brings them to a sickness of the heart; but when His desire is fulfilled, then it is like a tree of life to them!
Doing the right thing brings joy! Refraining from doing the will of God (the mitzvot of the Torah) actually brings sickness to one.
Every person knows the truth of the simple meaning of the verse. Yet in another beautiful verse in Proverbs (14:10), King Solomon teaches, “The heart knows its own bitterness, and in its happiness, no stranger can mix!” The pain of the heart is something unique to each individual – due to the tests one encounters in life. In joy – only the person themselves can know why they feel that way. Here – nobody else can enter. They have no idea of what the pain was about, neither will they merit to share in the joy now experienced when salvation comes!
One of our hardest challenges in life is to deal with the pain of our hearts. So much in each of our lives is lost. We search for the joy we need. It is out there somewhere – we say to ourselves. We constantly hope for it – await it each day and each moment. We have all lost something. To one person, it is his lack of money. To another a lack of good health. Yet another may truly have lost a person in their lives. We are all looking for something we need – we have lost… We hope for a change for the good, when our desires will be fulfilled (finally!) Some cannot handle the stress, and give up on everything – life itself. We must remember the beautiful words of King Solomon. When one has lost something, when one hopes for something – and does not receive it, it can be the most awful type of pain. It is only the person themselves that can feel what this means. No other person is able to appreciate just how it can make the other feel to have to find themselves with such a loss in life!
Though we can never know the others pain, because no two people can ever go through the exact same circumstances to feel the same way – we must appreciate their pain – to be able to identify somewhere, and to use it as a stepping stone to give the other encouragement. When we do, we give the other the opportunity to hope again! When the ways of the world change, and the rotating wheel of life move on, then those on the bottom can move upwards, and that hope can find itself having met its target – a target that then, when that person rejoices, nobody else can understand the joy of that person’s happiness!
Perhaps Rashi gives us both insights. When we do what is expected, the right thing to do, we not only do what must be done, but we bring joy to ourselves. When however we do not do what we should, it is ourselves who we hurt in return for our misbehaviour. We cannot know the pain of the other, let us give them hope and be there for them in every way we can – in every type of positive support that we can – because ultimately hope can bring redemption!
Joel De Carteret never gave up on his hope – his loss of something in his life! Who can imagine such a loss as his – finding himself one day in a market after having run away from home when he was just a child – he never found his way back again. He lost his parents… Who could imagine the pain he must have gone through wondering if he would ever see his parents again? However, he never gave up hope, and even with a world filled with billions of people – what possible chance of ever meeting his parents again could exist(?!) – he searched for them. Miraculously, over 30 years later, he met them again!
It was his hope in life that helped him to get there. To those who supported him – they are the greatest of people who probably helped him in his mission. Just as he experienced a loss in life – but made a find because he never gave up – so too should we internalise this vital lesson in life. Never give up! Not in ourselves – and likewise – not in the lives of others!
Enjoy this wonderful documentary in three parts about Joel’s life-story.