When Covid hit, I began to walk every Shabbat afternoon, no matter the weather. Walking cleared my head from all the chaos and became my breath of inspiration.

This past Shabbat, the day was glorious. Trees were changing color to golden hues under a deep blue sky. The air was crisp. I was almost home and somehow stumbled over a few small pebbles strewn on the road. I fell onto the ground, cushioning my fall with my right hand which now hurt. I’m sure it’s nothing, I reassured myself as I stood up. I shooed the niggling thought of maybe this is bigger than I think out of my head as my hand began to hurt.

That night I went to the local ER with my husband. Three hours later I was told, “Good news! It’s just a sprain!”

“Wow,” I responded. “This sure hurts but if you tell me it’s a sprain I will happily go home.” They wrapped my wrist with an ace bandage and off we went.

But the pain grew. I couldn’t turn on a faucet or hold a pen. Monday morning I took new x-rays. The orthopedist pointed to the images on the screen and said, “Your wrist is most definitely broken.” I am typing these words with a cast, alternating with my left hand when my right hand grows too strained. It is frustrating.

Jewish wisdom teaches us that when one goes through a challenge instead of questioning "Why?" we should ask, "What can I learn from this experience?" Use the moment to grow. It's up to us to see the stressful situation as either a stumbling block or a stepping stone to greatness.

Here are the three lessons I came up with.

1. Little things count.

What are a few small pebbles? They seem irrelevant, but they brought me to the ground.

Little things count, both positively and negatively. Don't discount the power of a word, a smile, or a hug. Don't belittle a small act of kindness as being insignificant. The same holds true for a sharp one word answer or a dismissive gesture. We can touch the heart of another or squash a soul in a second. We can bring someone to the ground or raise them up with our everyday "little pebbles".

We can bring someone to the ground or raise them up with our everyday "little pebbles".

And don't believe it's impossible to change the world if we don’t do something global or create a viral video. If each one of us decides to stand strong when we hear lies about our people, if we choose one act of spiritual connection, we have already impacted the universe we live in.

2. Don’t take life for granted.

I would hope that we have grown to realize the preciousness of living and breathing each day. I’m speaking about the joy of holding a hot cup of morning coffee, lifting your grandchild and cradling her on your shoulder, and cutting and dicing food. These are all actions I cannot do right now. I can’t wait to get back to using my hands to relish life. Don’t take any moment for granted.

3. Practice patience.

It's only been a few days and I'm already weary. It’s hard to always ask for help to open a package, to lift a pot. Everything is taking me double the time. It is most humbling. We live in a fast paced world where we have become used to instant results. We click and Amazon is at our doorstep. We WhatsApp people across the world and watch as two blue checks assure us that our message was delivered and read. Uber Eats promises that our food will arrive shortly. We have lost the art of waiting patiently. We get annoyed quickly when things don’t go our way.

I am learning the character trait of patience. Amazingly enough, the Hebrew word for patience, savlanut, has its root in the word sovel – to carry a load, to bear or to suffer. Patience allows us to carry our heavy load and bear the weight of our suffering. We are all porters, lifting our burdens. Patience gives us the strength to endure without constant complaining.

As each day brings me healing with God’s help, I hope to hold onto the life lessons I have learned. Let's use our challenges to build spiritual muscles and discover the potential that lies within.