Using a day-at-a-glance diary helps me remember which
appointments I have today, which chug my child has
tomorrow, and which bill was to be paid last week.
However, when purchasing a diary, not just any diary will
suffice. My diary must have a beautiful cover, or pictures
inside that inspire me.
My diary from last year was perfect. Deep, rich colors,
abstract shapes, and a charming cockatoo adorned the cover.
As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the right one.
Using that diary was a pleasure because I enjoyed looking at
it each morning. I filled the pages with schedules and
lists, day by day, week by week until soon, January was
approaching. It was almost time to pick up another diary.
I returned to the same store, full of savvy. I walked down
the aisle like I owned the place.
After looking through the selection, however, I was
disappointed. I saw a diary with colorful pictures of
flowers. But I don't like pictures of flowers.
A different diary had striking black and white photographs
of newborn babies. But I already had lots of those in the
None of these diaries are for me, I said.
That's okay, I thought, as I walked out. I know that my
diary is somewhere and as long as I exert the proper effort,
the Creator will graciously put it in my lap.
Besides, it's only November.
The weeks passed and soon it was just a few days before my
old diary ran out. Oh boy, now it's getting close.
I tried a stationery store near my home but nothing hit the
I'll hold out, I told myself. The perfect one is on its
I held out -- and held out, until I found myself in the
middle of February and no diary. The pressure to find one
grew as I was forgetting appointments and deadlines. Tiny
notes on odd pieces of paper began accumulating throughout
"Hmm, what's this?" I'd wonder, gazing at a small scrap with
the words: Tuesday, 1:30.
I've got to find my diary today, I said. I can't go another
week without it!
But I knew that wasn't the right attitude. We can't force
these things. They come on their own, quietly, gently, if we
only let them.
I had to approach this challenge the way I used to approach
poetry which I didn't understand. I'd be trying too hard,
forcing myself to read with the right cadence, concentrating
on every word and phrase so that it all became a bunch of
But when I'd relax a bit, and I'd read the words the way one
hums a tune to himself, freely, unencumbered by
expectations, then the poetry entered simply.
So, I thought, that's how I will find my diary.
And there it was! There was my diary, sitting on the shelf
at the bookstore. Though at first I wasn't sure.
The cover had a photograph of a peach colored bowl made from
glass with small peach colored balls inside. But the caption
underneath read: "Chrysanthemum Basket Set with Carbon Lip
Wraps." I didn't see any flowers in that bowl and why do
they call it a basket? And what in the world is a carbon
Calm down, I told myself. Be open to the possibilities.
I flipped through the pages and found many more bowls and
multi-colored cylinders. Some were modern looking, some
looked oriental. Lips, I soon learned, referred to the edges
of the bowls. I saw green lips and brazen yellow lips as
well as cobalt blue and violet lips.
I didn't like this book.
That's when I made my decision: Leah, I said, you need a
diary. This is a diary. Therefore, you will buy this diary,
with all its imperfections and lips. No, these vessels are
not perfect. And every day when you look inside your diary
to see what is scheduled, you will remember that life too,
is not perfect. The people around you are not perfect. You
are not perfect.
And that's perfect.
I was overjoyed. I took my diary to the checkout counter.
"Is this a gift?" the saleswoman asked. I saw the pretty
wrapping paper to the side and nodded the affirmative. She
even placed a sweet yellow bow on top.
I walked out satisfied. I felt whole and complete. And the
best part of all was that since it was already February, my
perfect new diary was 25% off.
[And, by the way, some 'lip' from the editor: there is a
lovely exhibit of glassware by Chihuly at the Tower of
David, ranging from small glass bubbles to huge Martian
glass landscapes. Lots of lips. An interesting place to
visit on Chol Hamoed, though expensive.]