In fact….I won!
Some of the words I had to spell were jam, respect and cork. These words might sound easy, and they are, but part of the reason I won was that I understood the need to learn the easy words as well as the hard ones. You need to start from the bottom and work your way up.
Other people skipped right to the hard words, so they were stumped by words like cork, which someone spelled with a q. One person spelled “partner” wrong. When that word came to me, I got it right. We never even got to the hard words, because I was able to win after only seven rounds. The hardest word was “partner.” Good thing I didn’t just skip right to the hardest level when I was studying.
I went to the regional finals and studied really hard for two weeks.
So there I was… on the stage of the auditorium at Western Connecticut University, under the spotlight, and I get ready to hear the first word… and it’s “musicale.” I Got it. Then “feldspar.” I have no idea what it is, but I spelled it right! Then I lost on the third one, “regime,” but only because the announcer mispronounced it.
Oh well. I had a great experience on this journey and learned an important lesson – that whatever journey you are on, you can’t take short cuts.
Abraham and Sarah learned the same lesson in my parsha.
Abraham had to undergo ten tests of his ability and loyalty to God – each one harder than the last one. Just like a spelling bee.
The first test was to leave his home. God understood that it would impossible to start a new religion while staying at home.
Then he and Sarah went down to Egypt during a famine; then after returning, Abraham split up with his nephew Lot. Then he had to fight in a war. Then, he had to evict his wife Hagar and son Ishmael. Then, at the very end of the portion, he circumcised himself at age 99.
Only at that point, at the end of the portion, do Abraham and Sarag get their new names. Until then, they were called Abram and Sarai.
There are no shortcuts to becoming who you are destined to become.
I’ve learned that lesson too, in different areas of my life, aside from the spelling bee.
As many of you know, I have been playing piano since I was six. I have a real passion for it! But it didn’t come so easy at first. I had to learn the finger positions and practice until they became second nature. I had to learn how to read music. And then with each piece, I have had to practice until the music flows and sounds smooth, with the right tempo.
Sometimes when you are on a journey you stub your toe along the way. Well I certainly did that!!! About two months ago, I fractured my big toe.
It was disappointing at first, but l but I’ve grown from the experience. I’ve learned how to deal with the pain, and also how to be patient with the slow process of healing.
I’ve learned that there is little that I can control at this point. I think I’ve grown from the whole process – and I know that there are no shortcuts to getting back on my feet. But now that I’m here, it feels really great.