One day I attended a meeting of recovering alcoholics. The speaker was a young woman of thirty-five. She had started drinking at twelve and drugging at fifteen. This led to delinquent, decadent behavior. In spite of suffering the consequences of living on the street, she was a slave to her drug addiction.
At twenty-six she found her way into Alcoholics Anonymous and, and at the present was nine years clean and sober. I had heard similar stories countless times, and this one did little for me. But I have never been to a meeting that I didn’t take away something of help. What I took away from this meeting has served me well, because toward the end of her talk, the woman said, “I must tell you something else before I finish.
“I am a football fan, a rabid Jets fan. I’ll never miss watching a Jets game. One weekend I had to be away, so I asked a friend to record the game on her VCR. When I returned, she handed me the tape and said, ‘By the way, the Jets won.’
“I started watching the tape, and it was just horrible! The Jets were being mauled. At half-time they were behind by twenty points. Under other circumstances, I would have been a nervous wreck. I would have been pacing the floor and hitting the refrigerator. But I was perfectly calm, because I knew they were going to win.
“Ever since I turned my life over to God, I no longer get uptight when things don’t go my way. I may be twenty points behind at half-time, but I know it’s going to turn out o.k. in the end.” This woman may not have qualified as a tzaddik, but I envied her emunah.