“Run, run, run as fast you can!
You can’t catch me,
I’m The Gingerbread Man!”
Recently while returning a copy of the Gingerbread Man to the library I skimmed through the book. It had been years since I had heard/read the story. I, at first, felt bad for the the Gingerbread Man. He wants to live a life of freedom, like other human beings. He makes a great escape and after a furious chase he eventually ends up being eaten by a fox.
Maybe its just a feeling of being out of sorts lately or the excitement/responsibilty of Elul, but I can see myself (at times) as a Gingerbread Man…of sorts. What I mean is that the Gingerbread Man makes the mistake of thinking that he is meant for something greater than his potential. He tries to fight the natural outcome of being a Gingerbread Man. Despite some couragous antics and thinking that a fox will save him, his destity or Divine Providence is to be eaten. His nature, that of being a cookie to be enjoyed with a bracha before and after, is the sole purpose of his existance.
There are times that I’ve gotten trapped into the reverse mentality of the Gingerbread Man. While he, in his crispy-on-the-outside-and-soft-on-the-inside-greatness doesn’t realize that to go beyond the limits of his potential is futile, I can count the times that I have limited my own potenial own based on what I think that I cannot achieve. When I think about what I could have done at several key points in my life I know that the only thing that stopped me was…me.
As an aside, it’s interesting that the story of the Gingerbread Man, passed down from generation to generation is still the story of a Gingerbread Man. Perhaps women have a better self view of their potenial and roles in life than we men do. I know that my wife married me because she saw my potential, not the warped view of Gingerbread Man, who saw what he wasn’t instead of what he was.