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Finding God on the other side of the Door October 5, 2006

Posted by makingyourdashcount in God, Judaism, Life Journey, Spiritual Musings, Uncategorized.
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It seems as though the only people who really know who God is, are those who have not really stopped to think about why or how God is. Some of us are given concrete images of God to accept as truth; in some ways I envy them. Jews are not given a concrete image. I heard it described this way: Some religions see God as the front of a door. You can see the doorfront. It is something that “is.” God “is”, so emulate God then you can understand God.

For most Jews, understanding is the other side of the door. We don’t have a concrete image to emulate. Instead, understanding God is the active process of working our way through the doorway to what is on the other side. The way to work through the door is by doing those things that God wants us to do, working toward justice in the world, whether that is through political means, teaching a child to read or feeding a hungry person a meal. Every Jew walks through life with a different understanding of who or what God is, because we can not truly see the other side of eachother’s doors.

During the High Holidays, Jews pray to God and ask forgiveness for sins against God over the past year in order to help seal our fates in God’s big book of life. (As Jon Stewart reflected on the Colbert Report,”Whatever that means.”)

However, the majestic God we appeal to on the holidays is not the back of the door I understand. And I expect that I am not alone. I am not big on fate. When horrible things happen in our world, I cannot accept that is destined by God. Instead, things like school shootings and child abductions are a result of individuals who take the opportunity to perform violent acts. They are willful acts having nothing to do with God.

However, dealing with life’s turmoils has everything to do with God and may be the catalyst it takes for some of us to walk through the door and discover what is on the other side.

It always seems easier for people to find God when bad things happen, because people need explanations for things. Filling up an empty hole with God is easier than figuring out the unanswered questions that we have such difficulty dealing with. After Sarah died, people reassured us that God must have needed her somewhere else more than God needed her here. What a tidy explanation for the inexplicable. Teenagers are not supposed to get sick and die in a matter of hours. So voila, an explantion.

We live in a society where not knowing something leaves an incomprehensible hole.

Recently, a friend expressed that she was dating a man who did not believe in God. She said he asked her why she did. Her answer? Because it was alot easier than not believing. I suppose it is but I feel like that answer reflects the front of a door, not the travel through it. In some ways I wish modern Judaism was so easy. Seeing the front of the door in black and white, accepting the Bible as fact and having absolute faith is much easier than traveling through that unknown door.

So as the New Year starts, I hope that I can find glimpses of who what where and how God is.. I do know that the only way I can do that, however, is to take an active role in doing it, for I don’t have an image of what God is supposed to be. I will just look for the open doors that will help me find out.

Give me the choice of prayer or good Doctors, I’m picking the Doctors- EVERYTIME. August 9, 2006

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Cancer, faith, God, Healing Yourself, power of pray, Prayer Requests, rants, Thoughts.
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I admit I am angry. I am angry that we live in the year 2006 and that there are people who truly believe that the more people who are praying for someone the better chance that person has by being graced by God in healing. I am angry that people believe that whoever gets the highest heavenly tally of prayer is the one who wins divine intervention.

I DO believe in the power of prayer for personal healing; just as centering oneself through meditation can be healing. Stress affects immunity. Whatever helps you reduce your stress will help you heal. And the knowledge that people want you to heal always makes you feel good and can heal.

My in-laws live their faith. I know that this is a primary reason that they are as vigorous as they are in their mid 80’s., even given a longer than decade romp with a cancer that should have killed my mother in law years ago. I credit 3 things for her success over her multiple myeloma over the past decade and a half.

Her Faith
The AMAZING Doctors at the Mayo Clinic
The fact that she actually DOES what they tell her to DO

And I credit my father in law’s faith with staying centered throughout her and his health challenges. I have never heard any anger about their conditions. They pray and then they deal with things quite pragmatically. They “pray with their feet.”

I have never understood the concept of praying for tangible results without taking the steps necessary to get them. This reminds me of the athlete who prays before a game, messes up on the field , loses, then says,

It wasn’t meant to be.

Um…. accept your errors and improve on them. Don’t give it to God. Seems to me with all the hate, illness and poverty in the world, God has MUCH more important things to concentrate on than your game or algebra test.

I think the first time I really discovered my anger in the concept of “praying for THINGS” was about 8-10 years ago, when I was active in my older daughter’s elementary school. At the time the PTA had several projects underfoot addressing basic literacy issues and fund raising for computers. I will never forget the prayer circle that was credited with volunteer hours for sitting in someone’s home, drinking coffee and praying for the school, it’s staff and students. Pray… FINE.. then get in there and teach a child to read. Pray with your feet.

Lest you think I am a Godless heathen, I do pray. When I pray collectively with friends for whom or whatever, I accept the fact that prayer is a sacred moment with my thoughts, with the people around me and with my God. It is the way “I” cope with crisis; I do not pray for tangible results; I pray as a way to help center ME to make ME more responsive to whatever needs I recognize.

Healing is not a result of other people’s prayer.

Healing is the result of having the right doctor, getting the right treatment, having the right attitude, and being diagnosed in time for modern medicine to take a stab at it.

I have never understood how people believe that fate is in God’s hands. If you medically intercede once God has “granted” you an illness, aren’t you then interrupting God’s will with man made interventions? Give me the right doctor, hospital and if need be clinical study ANY TIME.