Issue nº 41

Bringing God into daily life

Bringing God into daily life

     We often see spiritual life as something distant from our reality. Nothing could more wrong than this idea; God is in everything around us, and very often we only serve Him when we help our neighbor. Here are some stories about this:

Setting an example
     Dov Beer de Mezeritch was asked:
     "Which example should one follow? That of pious men, who devote their lives to God? That of scholars, who seek to understand the will of the Almighty?
     "The best example is that of the child," he answered.
     "A child knows nothing. It hasn't yet learned what reality is," people commented.
     "You are all quite wrong, for a child possesses three qualities we should never forget," said Dov Beer. "They are always joyful without reason. They are always busy. And when they want something, they know how to demand it firmly and with determination."

Prayers and children
     A protestant priest, having started a family, no longer had any peace for his prayers. One night, when he knelt down, he was disturbed by the children in the living room.
     "Have the children keep quiet!" he shouted.
     His startled wife obeyed. Thereafter, whenever the priest came home, they all maintained silence during prayers. But he realized that God was no longer listening.
     One night, during his prayers, he asked the Lord: "what is going on? I have the necessary peace, and I cannot pray!"
     An angel replied: "He hears words, but no longer hears the laughter. He notices the devotion, but can no longer see the joy."
     The priest stood and shouted once again to his wife: "Have the children play! They are part of prayer!"
     And his words were heard by God once again.

The book by Camus
     A journalist hounded the French writer, Albert Camus, asking him to explain his work in detail. The author of The Plague refused: "I write, and others can make of it what they will."
     But the journalist refused to give in. One afternoon, he managed to find him in a café in Paris.
     "Critics say you never take on truly profound themes," said the journalist. "I ask you now: if you had to write a book about society, would you accept the challenge?"
     "Of course," replied Camus. "The book would be one hundred pages long. Ninety-nine would be blank, since there is nothing to be said. At the bottom of the hundredth page, I'd write: "man's only duty is to love ".

In the Tokyo subway
     Terry Dobson was traveling on the Tokyo subway when a drunk got on and began to insult all the passengers.
     Dobson, who had studied martial arts for some years, challenged the man.
     "What do you want?" asked the drunk.
     Dobson got ready to attack him. Just then, an old man sitting on one of the seats shouted: "Hey!"
     "I'll beat the foreigner, then I'll beat you!" said the drunk.
     "I like to drink, too," said the old man. "I sit every afternoon with my wife, and we drink sake. Are you married?"
     The drunk was confused, and replied: "I have no wife, I have no one. I'm just so terribly ashamed."
     The old man asked the drunk to sit beside him. By the time Dobson got off, the man was in tears.

The place we desire
     A friend came to wait on our table - at a café in San Diego, California. I had met Cláudia in Brazil four years previously, and tell my friends about her life in the USA: she only sleeps for three hours, since she works in the café till late, and is a babysitter throughout the day.
     "I don't know how she can stand it," one of them says.
     "There's a Buddhist story about a turtle," replies an Argentinian woman at our table.
     "It was crossing a swamp, covered in mud, when it passed a temple. There it saw the shell of a turtle - all adorned with gold and precious stones.
     "I don't envy you, ancient friend," thought the turtle. "You're covered in jewels, but I'm doing what I want."

Peeling oranges
     Ernest Hemingway, the author of the classic The Old Man and the Sea, went from moments of harsh physical activity to periods of total inactivity. Before sitting to write pages of a new novel, he'd spend hours peeling oranges and gazing into the fire.
     One morning, a reporter noticed this strange habit.
     "Don't you think you're wasting your time?" asked the journalist. "You're so famous, shouldn't you be doing more important things?"
     "I'm preparing my soul to write, like a fisherman preparing his tackle before going out to sea," replied Hemingway. "If I don't do this, and think only the fish matter, I'll never achieve anything."

Issue nº41