Re-Souling begins with awareness. One doesn’t have to be thrust into a grand event to begin the process of Re-Souling. We begin the process of re-souling simply by discovering that we experience G in our everyday lives in the small moments that become great when we realize that G can be experienced in even the most mundane and normal aspects of our lives..
My grandfather (זצ’ל) Rabbi Abraham Cronbach, was often asked to teach at NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth) youth camps. At one such camp institute, Grandpa was asked to write and direct a play using the teenage campers as actors with the topic; “Discovering G in our world.”
When asked how many kids grandpa wanted in the play, he responded in his soft cracked voice: “Three will be sufficient.” The next question had to do with props that the Rabbi would need. His response: “If it is not too much of an inconvenience, might I have a bench?” And so with 3 students and a bench grandpa prepared a play.
The play went like this:
The curtain opened with the entire cast of 3 sitting on the one prop.
The first camper opened with:
“I wanted, more than anything, to go to college. But I was poor and could not afford to go. So I worked after school and got good grades and received a scholarship. Between the job and the scholarship I got into college.
And in that moment of joy, I discovered G.”
The next kid spoke up.
He said: “I too wanted to go to college. I too worked hard after school and got good grades, but he got the scholarship and I did not. I didn’t get to attend college. As I sat in my sorrow a stranger came up to me, sat with me and comforted me.
And in that stranger’s compassion I discovered G.”
The last boy on the bench looked up and said:
“I was that guy. I saw someone sitting in sorrow and I felt drawn to him. I sat with him and shared words. I felt his sadness and tried to comfort him.
And in my poor attempt to console him, I discovered G.”
And with that the curtain came down on the short play.
That story from 60 or so years ago has of late bubbled up in my soul.
A couple days a week, I work for an organization called, Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) of the city of Boulder, Colorado in the guise of “Mountain Man Jake.” My ‘job’ used to entail leading hikes, and telling stories of the Old West. I also shared the knowledge that I have gleaned from the experts who work for OSMP in flora, fauna, geology, ecology and the environment.
I can no longer lead hikes because of annoying, infernal infirmities. Now, I stay mostly in the Ranger Cottage and advise people who are going on hikes. But I still enjoy talking with people, sharing what I have learned about the area, telling tales of the Old West and helping create hikes for visitors to this amazing and unique place. This is made all the more fruitful/interesting because of the variety of people who come to OSMP. I have led hikes for and given talks to groups from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and the Middle East. People come from Japan and Germany, Malaysia and Norway, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. The diversity of people offers me an opportunity for discovering the experience of G in my interaction with others. In these small moments of cultural, racial, interfaith interface some amazing G experiences happen.
I once sent a young Saudi man and a young Israeli man on a rather strenuous hike together. Showing them the hike was my ‘job’. Suggesting that they might like to solve the Middle East crisis on their hike was my challenge to them. When they returned, they were laughing and talking. When I saw them returning laughing, joking, listening, I experienced G in our world.
If only all ‘enemies’ would take a hike together… walking through G’s wonders can do wonders for opening the eyes of enemies to wonders of peaceful coexistence.
Once, in the cottage, an argument developed between an Egyptian fundamentalist Christian couple and their American hosts. They had seen a depiction of Boulder 120 million years ago. The Christian couple insisted that the world was not that old. The Boulder couple began to argue science. I stepped in because they were getting a little loud and disturbing other potential hikers. I suggested to them that they had no common language and therefore could not understand the arguments of the other. One side was speaking science and one was speaking faith. They were arguing in different languages and not translating and so there was no point in continuing. They would have to agree to disagree. Then maybe they could learn to listen and hear each other’s lessons.
We learn only in translation. But that requires an openness to hear the G in each other, to experience G in our lives. Science and faith can coexist and thrive but only if each has respect for the other.
Their argument sputtered out. With a little nudging, each couple agreed to a field trip with the other. The Egyptian couple would take the Boulder couple to church and the Boulder couple would take the Egyptian couple to CU’s Museum of Natural History. In their decision to listen to each other in translation, I experienced G.
Discover G in your everyday life. Realize that G can be experienced in even the most mundane and normal aspects of your life.. And allow yourself to Re-Soul.