No Matter Your ‘Position,’ it’s Probably for the Best

Baseball season arrived, and we stood on the dirt field at Little League practice. I held my glove between my elbow and ribs while I fixed the brim on my baseball cap. Today, we would be given our positions, and Sunday we would play the Red Sox.

“I’m gonna land shortstop, watch and see!” I yelled to Ben, who leaned on his bat like a walking stick.

“And I’m gonna be pitcher, for sure!” he yelled back.

So when Coach Brown called our names and positions, I about choked when I heard the lineup.

“Zach Kahn, second base; Rick Shonefield, outfield; Chuck Edleman, shortstop.”

“What?” I tilted my head and glared at the coach, “outfield?”

I let out a deep breath as my friend came over and patted my back. “Chuckie’s also good for the job.”

“No he’s not!” my voice raised a notch.

“Listen, outfield isn’t bad.” My friend whispered just as Coach Brown let out a yell, “And Brad Epstein, pitcher.”

“Yes!” he yelled and ran off to slap a few high fives with the guys.

Meanwhile I couldn’t take my eyes off Chuck Edleman. His lanky body and arms that looked too long for his torso just didn’t fit my image of a shortstop. I felt my stomach tighten as I watched him head toward his position. Suddenly, I couldn’t stand Chuck Edleman, not one bit.

“OK, get into place. We’ve got a practice ahead of us.” Coach Brown threw the ball to Chuck, whose long arms reached out and caught the ball on the first try.

Sheer luck, I thought, for a nerdy kid.

I stood in the outfield rolling my eyes. Guys lined up to bat; Joey hit the ball toward Chuck. But Chuck missed it, and it rolled directly toward me. Still being totally upset, I missed it and it landed a foot away.

Zach yelled out, “What’s up with you, Shonefield?”

The rest of the game was pretty much the same, Chuck making great plays and me glaring at him.

That night at dinner, Mom, Dad, Grandma and I sat around the table eating Grandma’s special spaghetti.

“Remember how I was telling you that I was up for a promotion at work two weeks ago?” Dad said, as he stabbed at the thick, slimy noodles. “Well, they promoted my co-worker, Roger Liebman, instead.” He let out a deep sigh.

Mom sat silent then said, “That doesn’t seem fair. Haven’t you been there longer?”

Dad nodded his head and Grandma looked at Dad.

“I’ll tell you what I learned a long time ago.” Grandma said. “Sometimes we think something might be good for us, but in the end only G-d decides what’s best.”

I lifted my head up to hear more.

“I had a friend once who lost her job suddenly and for no reason.” Grandma said, looking at Dad. “That next week there was a fire in her office, and it was totally destroyed. Had she been working there, she wouldn’t have lived.”

“Freaky.” I said.

“Wow, I remember that.” Dad said.

“So just let G-d decide what is best and be happy with it.” Grandma smiled, and Dad thanked her for her words of wisdom.

That next baseball game I was back to my old self.

Discussion Questions
1. How can we be happy with what comes our way even though we might be expecting something else?
2. Why is it sometimes difficult for us to be happy with another’s good fortune?

Danielle Sarah Storch is a local freelance writer. “Shabbat Table Talk” is a monthly feature synthesizing Torah insights and lessons for children of all ages.

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