The Seal of Adam

[Audioblog 4:32]

And this serves to tell of the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as when a person stamps several coins with one seal, they are all similar to each other. But the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, stamped all people with the seal of Adam the first man, as all of them are his offspring, and not one of them is similar to another. Therefore, since all humanity descends from one person, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me, as one person can be the source of all humanity, and recognize the significance of his actions.

-Sanhedrin 37a
From The William Davidson Talmud

Last night, as I lay down to go to sleep, my wife asked me what I was thinking about turning 31. I told her what I said when I turned 30. It’s something I’ve said a few times throughout this year. I told her that I felt like a loser. I am, in fact, unaccomplished in several areas. They say it is best to make plans that you can easily attain, in order to establish and maintain a forward progression. I have been struggling to move forward on various projects for the last couple of years.

This is all true. If you attempt to comfort me about my continued failure on these things that I long to accomplish, I will appreciate it, but sheepishly sidestep the comfort you offer. Believe me, this is an issue with who I am, not you. You are doing the right thing and that is noble of you. Thank you.

One area I proudly proclaim that I excel at in life is: listening to the council of my wife. She tried to assuage my sense of failure and reminded me of all the good things I have been doing. She complimented me on how serious I am taking my job. She congratulated me on continuing to take my health seriously, with eating better and getting to the gym more consistently. She told me that I am doing very well as a husband and father. At the risk of sounding boastful, this too is all true.

I knowingly sideline the things I’m passionate about pursuing on my own, for the sake of providing for my family and being there for them. One of my greatest struggles, is that I feel selfish for wanting the things I want. There is never enough time in a day. I need to sleep, to work, to eat, to study and pray. On top of all that, I have to be there for the people at home. These people make my life worth living. They enrich it, but they are not my sole source of enrichment.

I mentioned all this to someone this morning and they responded with a simple admonition: I have to find the balance. They are so right. I know this. I have known this for some time.  I would like to claim that these words were an epiphany to me, that hearing them today in just the right context changed everything for me, but that’s not how it works. Over the course of this next year, I will have to put in the work to find and maintain that balance. I feared I would never consistently study the Bible like I do now. I never would have guessed that I would consistently go to the gym like I do now. I feared that I would never be the patient and loving father my children deserve to have.

All those victories have come at the cost of much effort, much failure and rising up from those failures again and again. I think what I might need most this year, is to learn how to come to terms with my failures. I am very much interested in owning my failures and mistakes right now, but I don’t think I do it in the healthiest way. I used to see myself as a failure, as opposed to seeing my actions as leading to failure. I think I need to learn to see my failures as an incident, and not wholly a reflection of my character, as my true self. I am after all a son of Adam.

Adam fell and yet God loved him, as He loves me. Adam is gone, but I’m still here. And what will I do with the days I have yet to live? I pray I will merit to serve my Creator, love my family, provide for our needs and enjoy the work that fills me with joy all the more this year.

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