How do I not think about the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio? How do I integrate the beauty I am experiencing this week at Camp Or L’Dor with the heartbreaking headlines?
Last week I shared with you how in an every day conversation my passion for this amazing endeavor welled up and poured out. I was reminded of all the mundane that saps our energies and pulls us away from Him and what we are here to do. One of my highly musically talented readers responded which reminded me of yet another aspect of this thought.
In Kaballah, Jewish mysticism, when the divine urn was shattered in the beginning, all creation received a spark of divinity. Within each of us is a force that is not of us, that we are charged with keeping holy and using to make this place a better place than the way we found it. For some of us there is a great drive to write, to make music, create art. When these fellow travelers share these gifts with us, the experience is transformative, just as camp is for our young people. We are taken from our places of challenges and tsuris to shalom and nearness to God.
Some of us have great perseverance, are hard workers, see the good in others easily, see solutions to problems, are amazing nurturers, can build and repair things, can grow plants and garden, cook delicious recipes, love children and easily teach and mentor. Others have an amazing capacity to work hard, find the good in others, to love, to forgive, to be thankful, to seek His presence continually. All of us struggle with the good within us and darker forces at work without and within us. When we are in community with others and share our better attributes, such experiences can be as transformative to us and to those around us as starting a teen camp, or performing Beethoven. A delicious meal, home grown tomatoes, just picked flowers from the garden, a repaired door hinge, a smile, bring happiness, His love, to the recipient. Being forgiven lovingly for a mistake or appreciated for hard work can take us from a place of discouragement and despair to an awareness of His presence, away from the secular and closer to our inner place of peace, the spark of His divinity. Lives of such positive interactions encourage development of healthy psyches within ourselves and for those with whom we interact.
All of us have been given sparks of goodness meant to be shared with others. Sadly, even the gunmen who can cold-bloodedly do the unthinkable started life with goodness in their souls but have drifted far from feeling that place. When we hear horrific news, we try to lessen the pain, but we can’t do so when we think about it. For the acts of a few acting in this way touch each of us to our core. We are reminded of our flawed society, of which we are a part, and shocked at how the acts of so few can darken the spirits of the vast majority just living their lives, not making headlines, just going about their daily routines. All the more reason to be incentivized to bring your light to others. It cannot take away the pain, but it can help you and your fellow travelers in life to remember there is good. A drop is just a drop until each drop adjoins another to become a puddle, a creek, a river, an ocean.
In a perfect world, the conditions leading each of these gunmen to make these decisions would have caused them not to be the men they are today who can cold bloodedly kill. They would have been in worlds of love. Though not perfect, each of us has been given the ability to share His love with others within our spheres of influence, causing through a ripple effect, interactions of kindness to others, starting at birth, working toward a humanity not capable of such cruelty.
You don’t have to found a teen camp. You don’t have to be a concert pianist. Within each of you is goodness beyond measure. Life’s journey is to stay close to that place of Him, through prayer and intentional seeking, through conversations with our Abba to learn His truths. Striving to stay in conversation with HaShem helps each of us to find the beauties we possess, treasures that are meant to be opened and shared with our brothers and sisters in life.
The homeless person on the street is beautiful, possessing a heart that often knows the absence of love as well as compassion. The disabled know the beauty of feeling challenged, the value of determination, often the warmth of compassion. We wear many hats throughout life – mentor, teacher, student, parent, child, professional, laborer, patient, caregiver – each allowing us to tap into the knowledge we are constantly being given to share with others as we strive to feel His love and presence throughout each experience.
As we are challenged to be pulled from the light through shocking events, I encourage you to work all the harder to dig deeper within yourself, to find Him, to find the goodness you carry with you always, a light that is meant to shine and uplift this world we are blessed to share.
P.S. I cannot make this up. . .
After writing this, I left to take a quick jog before lunch, thinking there’s no possibility I could share more. Yet as I put on my headphones, spontaneously, from my locked cell phone containing over 100 songs, this verse played:
“If I could get one thing right, in every moment of my life,
It would be to see in you and me, the spark of God’s divinity,
And appreciate the artistry that connects us all as family. . .
I laughed ecstatically with joy and loved God so deeply. How grateful I was for the affirmation of this week’s message. Yet He slowed me down to listen further to the next lines:
“If I could get just one thing right,
It would be to see you through those eyes.”
To see us through His eyes.
For when we do, we become closer to the message of the next song that played,’‘Lev Tehor’’, a pure heart.
At this point I am going crazy with excitement and love of Him, only to notice that I am jogging on a street called Shepherd’s Trail (!) which ends at a T suggestive of a cross, as do all of the mailbox posts, realtor signs, and white fence posts, not to mention the realtors’ names on the signs “happening” to be named Mary, and Peter. I was washed in the blood of Yeshua as I came breathlessly back to camp.
He is close. Seek Him always.