So here I am, a Jewish woman, reading a book by a rabbi about deepening my relationship with God through being in nature...and boom...Peace to Anger.
My initial reaction was intense anger...I felt like my home space...my mind space was being invaded by a fanatic...I felt victimized! I immediately wrote an angry response to the 2nd hand seller who I purchased the book from (through Amazon) Letting them know how I felt about being judged so harshly by someone who doesn't even know me. I was really mad!
It's a couple of hours later. My heart is no longer racing...I've thought about my reaction...I've thought about the possible intention of the person who placed the book mark in the book...I've thought about how interesting it is that it is only five days until Erev Rosh HaShanah and that the message on the book mark is about repentance (in fact uses the words "turn from sin"-t'shuvah) and I've thought about thoughts and how they can hook us into believing we see something that isn't even really THERE/here. I reacted from habit...the habit of DON'T YOU TELL ME WHAT TO ----------------(believe, think, do, say)...I reacted, in fact acted without stopping to see what was really in front of me. A piece of paper....with words that are important to somebody else. Someone, who like me wants there to be peace...we may not be traveling the same path...but ultimately I think that we are looking toward the same destination...one of wholeness and peace, shalom.
OK, this person chose a method I would not choose...words I would not say and a religion that has some fundamental differences to my own. But, if I stop...look, listen to the words and the intention behind them, I know that this person most likely did not intend to harm me, but in their (in my view) misguided way, he/she was reaching out to me...reminding me to do t'shuvah...to turn my heart toward God...not such a terrible message for me to hear at this time of preparation for the holy days. For everyday. The turning is continuous...moment to moment.
While I refuse to accept Jesus as my personal Moshiach...I do choose to stand before God in each moment...gazing at the glorious mountains that grace my home state....the clear purple-blue sky that fills my heart with a feeling of yirah (awe)...and facing Shekhinah (God's indwelling presence) as I examine my actions, reactions and interactions with other people and strive to do better this year, this day, this moment. Ahhh, back to my book.