Note: This blog may offend some people. That is not the intention.
It was a cold winter day when I accompanied my college boyfriend to church.
A lifelong devoted Jew, it was a new experience, a novelty, to step inside the Catholic church and sit on the wooden bench of the pew. I waited for something bad to happen – lightning fire to strike me dead or someone pointing at me and screaming, “Jew!”
But nothing happened, of course. Other than inspiration.
Yes, I have to admit it – I was inspired by the words of the priest’s homily. I don’t remember anything about it now, I just remember leaving into the crisp white air of January and pondering the idea that I found inspiration in the words of a Catholic priest on a Sunday in church.
Twenty-some years later, I understand it perfectly. A good writer, a good speaker, can spark inspiration in anyone – if we are open to being inspired.
That day in the church, I had no attachment to, nor obligations from, Catholicism or Christianity. I was there as an impartial observer, accompanying someone I cared about to a service that meant something to him.
And so I was open enough to find meaning in the words.
Which means there was universal truth in the speech. Universal enough to touch the heart of a Jew in their midst.
In the days that followed that experience, I didn’t rush to convert. I didn’t even consider it. I simply filed that away in my good experiences memory, and marched on as a college junior.
Years later, when I visited a mosque to gather information and take photos for my bread book, I was similarly inspired by the Arabic words that were so similar to the ones I know in Hebrew. This realization showed me how similar we all are, and that we find meaning and express ritual in much the same way.
I try to write this blog every day. Sometimes people read it and mention that they were inspired. Sometimes no one reads it other than my husband. (And often even he doesn’t.)
And then there are the times when people read my blog and have huge reactions. Anger, offense, emotional outpouring, gratitude.
It means a lot when someone takes the time to comment that something I wrote inspired them. Even if it’s to anger or offense – that means the writing was powerful and it touched something deep inside.
I used to get easily offended and when I did, I’d blame the other person for making me feel a certain way. It took years of meditation, therapy, prayer, and inward pondering to recognize that every interaction, every relationship, is a mirror to the Self.
If you piss me off, it’s not about you; it’s about ME.
What lies deep within my soul that is ignited by whatever you say or do?
Really, I must say thank you when that happens because if I respond right, you’ve given me the opportunity to learn more about myself and improve who I am.
If your writing angers or offends me, I’d better look at my response and try to decipher why I was so easily ignited.
I’ve come to see that we spend far too much time worrying about what other people think, or what they’ve said, or feeling hurt by things way outside our control.
I really cannot determine how you choose to act, whether you like me, or if we will be friends.
All I can do is be a nice person and be true to myself. Step into authenticity. Share my passions with others. Do what I can in my little corner of the world to make the world a better place and get us closer to peace.
I’m truly sorry if what I write here offends you. It’s never the intention. Let this blog serve as that disclaimer, in fact, so now you know going forward that whatever words I string together here come from my heart, as a way to try to make sense of a crazy world.
But I say that with caution – because while I’m glad you choose to read my words, no one is forcing you to. You could ignore what I write. Surely there are plenty of things to fill our days other than fretting about what one lone woman in suburban Detroit has to say.
Unless it speaks to the truths you’ve been trying to avoid.