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But I've been waiting all this time....
A story I love tells of a crazed man driving in circles, round and round, in the middle of a major city, looking for a parking spot. He’s in the throes of his extremely hurried and harried life, muttering cursewords to himself. As a last resort, he prays to God and pleads, “If only you’d find me a spot, I’d believe in you”. Wouldn’t you know it, the very next thing, the most perfect parking spot just ‘happens’ to open up. Without missing a beat he says “Oh, never mind, I just found one”.
What might we be missing in our daily lives when we don’t pay attention?
And if we actually do pay attention, can we attribute these ‘signs’ to a Higher Entity? Or do we just continue to drive around, missing what is right in front of us…asserting that the notion of God is an ancient relic, an idea fit for those of lesser intelligence or for those rooted in archaic practices?
Do you ever habitually say things like “that was lucky” or “what a coincidence” ? Or have you ever paused in the moment, when narrowly escaping a scary occurrence, to focus on your gratitude—-but then, just as quickly, move on to the next thing?
Think about a time perhaps, when you just avoided an accident, and, catching your breath, think “Thank God, I almost hit that car”. Or times when you are thankfully saved from a more minor inconvenience and say to yourself “Thank Heaven….”
Do we just move on, or can we dwell in those moments and perhaps relish the elegance of the universe working? I’m not suggesting there is no such thing as ‘luck’…but what I am putting forward is the possibility—-no actually it is a fact—- that we don’t have all the answers. We have to have that kind of humility.
When we experience pain or are filled with darkness, those are the times when we tend to reach out, calling out to the One Above for solace from suffering. Or when we need answers for the unanswerable. The times of intense struggle are when we feel connected to a larger Source, to the One who might listen and receive our pleas.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel encourages us to be in ‘radical amazement’ for existence itself, which is God. How can we wrap our brains around that?
Yet, the very word that God uses as a name is a state of being. Heschel is just affirming what God already told us.
“The God of your fathers has sent me to you, but they will say to me: What is his name?— what shall I say to them?
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is open-ended, with layers of meaning, and begs for your own interpretation. The words themselves can be translated in so many ways…“I Am that I Am” or “I Am who I Am” or “I will become what I choose to become” or “I will be what I will be” or “I am the Existing One” or even nore variations.
The message here is that everything in our lives is part of the grand wonderment that is creation.
When we can experience life in that way, by regarding the world around us as special and sacred…and keep that within our minds even during the darkest days, we will be connecting with the spiritual deep within us.
We need to turn off our pragmatic and logical voices enough to let the even truer nature of reality in. We can live within the paradox of knowing, deep in our beings, that there is something beyond our physical sense of the world and agree to be the realistic pragmatists at the same time. We are humans. We can manage two conflicting ideas at once.
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