Just when we think we have done so much, helped so much, grown so much… there are still miles to go before we sleep.
At the beginning of the portion of Vayeshev, we see that Jacob sought to rest. He felt that he had completed his spiritual work. After all, he’d been married; he had children from which all future nations would come. He’d passed so many difficult tests, and most importantly in doing all of this he brought about the permanence and continuity of the world. What more was there for a man to do? And then, his son Joseph is taken from him. This became Jacob’s point of complacency.
As Robert Frost tell us in the last stanza of the poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
As long as there is the breath of life in our bodies, there is work to be done. It is in the moments when we feel we have nothing left to do that the universe is compelled to send us new challenges so that we might continue to grow.