The desire to return to “normal” is understandable, but it is based on the illusion that our definition of “normal” had any significance, and our plans any kind of relevance. We have set our minds onto certain targets, and assume a “right” to keep pursuing them. We need to be consistent, hold the ship steady, especially when we’re entrepreneurs, heads of families — we need to provide dependability, against a backdrop of changing circumstances, we need to prove ourselves! Really?
Prov 19:21 is not just an observation, it is a «Mashal» — a parable, proverb or illustration. We naturally make all kinds of plans, and there is nothing wrong with that in principle, however, we need to realize that our Maker ultimately calls the shots. Only by subjecting our planning to Him, we ready ourselves to implement His will moment-to-moment. He guides us, be it through blessing or thwarting our plans. Flexibility and the willingness to adapt are more important than keeping our stiff necks from turning. The instruction not to veer to the right nor left (Joshua 1, Prov 4:27) concerns observance of Torah, not the observance of our own plans.
Ps 34:19 reflects this struggle. In our diminished state we only see this virtual reality, this digital simulation we call our “space-time continuum” — and a continuum demands continuity! And yet the excitement and the joy we can have in living life is, remaining receptive to HaShem revealing to us constantly that reality is infinitely-and-then-some bigger and more astonishing than we could ever fathom.
This doesn’t mean don’t plan and just hang your flag into the wind; it means, be constantly updating your plans to reflect the fact that HaShem orchestrates the entire universe on a moment-by-moment, infinitely finely tuned manner. And He does so according to His own blueprint — and the best insight we have into the schematics is Torah, not our own devising.
The delusion is the same than in the garden, at the tower of Bavel, several points during the Exodus where the Israelites would have preferred to be back in Egypt – the delusion that our perception is equal or even more “real” than HaShem’s orchestration. That delusion is built into us, and it is natural, and understandable, and we are all subjected to it, for a reason, and for a time.
How we prove ourselves, is by how much we let ourselves be disillusioned, disabused of our arrogance of “being someone”, of calling the shots. Tuning into Simchat Tora, attuning ourselves to HaShem truly, not our own projection and concept of Him — that’s how we prove that we are of a substance compatible with the divine.
Once we embark on this journey, we will progressively realize how much our previous thought patterns are merely progressing avoidance patterns and coping strategies. We are all about to be freed from them, one way or another. The stiffer we make ourselves, the more it will hurt when we break.