Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Think


T--Is it true?

H--Is it helpful?

I--Is it inspiring?
...
N--Is it necessary?

K--Is it kind?

Gentleness and Strength





“Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.”

Ralph W. Sockman

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where Is God When It Hurts?


I am a mystery, God confesses. I am strange, infinitely strange.

My script of history is quite unfathomable to the human mind and heart. Yet you ought to know one thing: I am not a detached God, residing in the heavens and objectively governing the destiny of each human being the way I see fit.

I am present with you in your anguish. I am in the groan of a beaten slave, the wail of a bereaved mother, the spilled blood of a murdered child.

You are crying? I am weeping with you. You feel crushed? I am crushed with you.

No matter how deep your darkness, I am deeper still. I do not orchestrate human suffering from some distant planet, removed from your existential distress.

I am there with you, suffering with you, sobbing with you, praying for redemption together with you.

Man may never comprehend God's "mind." But let him not think, God tells Moses, that God, who understands the purpose of the pain, gives Himself the luxury of not feeling the intensity of the darkness. Every tear we shed becomes His tear. He may not wipe them away, but He makes them His.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Burn


By Chana Weisberg

I burned my finger this morning. It was nothing major really, just one of those irritating little burns that you get from trying to cram too much into a hurried and harried morning routine.

I was attempting to prepare my son's lunch, the carpool was honking… and the plate in the microwave was very hot. Carelessly, I pulled it out and only belatedly realized just how scorching it had become.

For the next several hours, the area around my finger was red and sensitive. For a while I soaked it in a tub of cold water and the pain was alleviated. But as soon as I removed my finger, the throbbing resumed. Touching anything hot, or even lightly immersing my finger in a lukewarm liquid, resulted in a searing pain. Returning to my normal daily tasks was out of the question. The area was still very tender. It needed special care.


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I learned from my burned finger—something more than just to be more careful in the stressed morning rush hour.

Each of us has some part of us that has been "burned"—some point of tenderness, and some area of sensitivity in our lives. It is that wounded part of us that needs delicate care and soothing treatment.

When something or someone touches this raw area, we'll experience a burning sensation of hurt, anger or misery. It may be a mild, innocuous comment, but any contact with that bruised part of our ego causes an intense pain to shoot right through us. It might be a lukewarm action, one that certainly was not meant to cause us any suffering, but handling this sore area creates a stinging discomfort.


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The lesson I discovered is that it's not the lukewarm action that is at fault, nor the heated comment that's to blame. It's only our own sensitivity to the issue at hand that has caused us our distress.

So, before retorting in resentment, grief, or rage at the audacity of the individual--before we even let him know exactly what we think of him and his comments--maybe we need to ask ourselves: is our anger justified? Was the comment or action really offensive, or is this just a sore, sensitive point in our life?

And, maybe before making a comment that might be misinterpreted, we should give it a second thought, and refrain. Just in case. Otherwise, we might inadvertently touch a tender "burn" in someone else's life, causing them to experience tremendous discomfort.

Because each and every one of us has some sore spots….

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dear Father



A Letter from the Trenches

I am writing to you at a moment when I have some breathing room. A moment of calm. A moment where I feel like I can write, without the enemy coming down upon me.

I am sorry I haven't written to you in so long. Please understand. For months now, the enemy has attacked. He has been unrelenting. It has been one of the hardest battles of my life.

I miss you, Father. Every day, I pray to be close to you again. Close to comfort. All that I want is to come home and to be close again with you again.

But I know that this war is necessary. I know that this fight, these moments when I feel furthest from you, are really the moments when I am serving you most. I know that really, I am doing it all for you, Father.

I have to be honest, though. As this last battle raged, I began to forget what this was all for. I forgot why I was fighting, Father!

Instead, all I could see was the dirt in my eyes and the blood on my hands. All I could see was the enemy's guns pointed at me. There was no time for thinking, no time for caring about what side I was on. I just did what I was told.

I just aimed.

And shot.

And fought.

These are the moments I will never understand, Father. Why can't the world be simple? Why do we need to fight for our souls? Why can't the good side get along with the... other side?

Instead, we must fight like dogs. We must live in the darkness, we must allow our enemies to surround us while we fight them.

Sometimes the struggle is so overwhelming, I forget what side I am on. I begin flailing around, struggling through a darkness that is so truly enveloping that I feel as if I am doing more harm than good.

This was what the last battle felt like. This was why I didn't speak to you. I almost forgot you were there.

But then something miraculous happened, Father. As we fought, and as it seemed most desperate, the enemy suddenly began retreating. For seemingly no reason beside our stubborn determination to fight on, the armies decided to turn and run. It was a glorious moment.

As we chased them down the fields, as we danced in jubilation, the massive size of their forces no longer blocked out the sun. The rays of light came down and poured over the field.

And this was when it all started to make sense. This was when I suddenly remembered you. And I remembered that I was out here not for me, not just so that I could defeat my enemies, not just so that I could brag about my achievements.

I am here for you. I am here because of you. And I can't return to you without finishing what I came here for.

I've come to accept something. At first, I didn't want to. But since coming here, since hearing the footsteps of countless enemies surrounding me, I have no choice but to accept that there is nowhere to hide. That if I don't stand up to the darkness, it will continue to spread until it covers every part of the globe. Until it covers my very soul.

And this is why I am here, in another world, another dimension, unable to see you or touch you or hug you. I have work to do. I am here for a reason, and that reason is so that I can return to you. I am here so that I can return your world to you. I am here for you.

Still, the battle may be won, but the war is far from over. The enemy has simply retreated. It has not surrendered. It has not backed down. As I rest, they are regrouping. Staring down at the beautiful sunny field, I am aware that it will one day be dark yet again. The army will be back for me again, this time stronger and more powerful.

But as I sit here, Father, staring at the beautiful field, looking at the rainbow you created just for me, I can't help but bring up vague memories of when we were truly side by side. And I can't help but look forward to the moment when we will yet again be able to look each other in the face and hug each other out of pure love.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010