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They say gas prices go up like a rocket and down like a feather, which is to say they shoot up really fast when oil prices rise, yet drop very gradually when oil prices drop.

Why this is, is totally above my pay grade. I have my hands full with Judaism and don’t even pretend to understand the economy, other than the fact that everything that has gone wrong can be blamed on “staffing issues.” It’s frustrating, though. I’ve been known to actually watch the pump for signs of change, not unlike my little brother, when we first got a microwave back in the ’80s, who would sit on his little chair in front of the digital clock just waiting patiently for 11:11 or 12:34.

But what this rocket/feather analogy got me thinking of was this: human crises are exactly the opposite. We go down like a rocket and up like a feather, or whatever metaphor you’d like to substitute. It takes such a short time for life to implode, to go from merrily and cluelessly walking along the sunny side of the sidewalk, to disaster. Overnight, life can completely change as we know it and we may be running around calling friends, experts, professionals, to help us with a parenting crisis, mental health scare, physical illness or marriage situation. In a moment, normal life can seem like a dream that other people are living in, but feels completely inaccessible. It can totally blindside us.

And then, recovery. It takes so long. Every win takes forever. We sometimes wonder if the needle has even moved at all. We’re that little kid on the little chair watching the little clock. Did it change? At all?

Time seems to slow down, turn fluid and thick as molasses. We see small signs of change, then wonder how we could even celebrate such minute integers of improvement. But we can, we must. It moves as slow as a feather in the wind, but what alternative is there?

Think of how fast the world changed in March 2020 and how slowly we got back to normal. We’re not back yet, in case you were wondering – see “staffing issues.” Think of how life changed overnight for Ukraine. When will the lives of the Ukrainians ever be normal again?

So, I sometimes wonder why God created a world in which the bad stuff seems to happen quickly and the good stuff seems to happen slowly. I can’t say I’ve arrived at any profound conclusions, but the nature of my mind is such that perceiving the pattern makes me feel better and helps me to manage expectations – to normalize the struggle.

Maybe the lesson is to appreciate the good when we have it, with the heightened awareness that it could all change on a dime. I’m still trying to work out how exactly COVID-19 changed us. I see authors are just starting to write books about it, but one way for sure is the humbling of humanity. We had no clue what was coming down the pipeline. And we still don’t. So look around at your life. The rocket is flying high, so notice and savor that while you have it.

Connect with Ruchi Koval on Facebook at ruchi.koval and on Instagram @ruchi.koval.

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