Dogs, Devils, and the Razor's Edge

Crazy, living in the past is so… passé. We are so focused on potential future benefits, as they have been projected from our past forays into whatever, we just don't pay attention. I mean, it has 'all' been spelled out, for those of us that are ready to hear it. We just are too busy, I guess… My last post was a real shocker and, yeah, a downer too. Personal business is, as well, so… passé… Let's talk about the parsha ha'shavua, Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16), why don't we? It is about how Pharaoh, the god-king of Egypt, had finally agreed to let the Jews leave and God, in his Infinite wisdom, led the Jews to Israel on the most roundabout way and the 'longest' route believable. God, of course, knew that if He took them out on the shortest route, the Jews would get mixed up in the war that was brewing along the way. God said, "Perhaps the people will reconsider when they see a war, and they will return to Egypt" (Exodus, 13:17). Even though the Jewish people had just, personally, witnessed an awesome series of miracles, all plague-like and such, God knew that at the first sign of trouble, the generations of Jewish-slaves would want to return to Egypt and back to their lives of normalcy and, yes, slavery.

Normalcy, it seems, isn't all it is cracked up to be. Really, if you delve into the subject a bit, we are all slaves to something or other. We just find ourselves, one day, wondering how in the Hell we arrived at such an absurd junction, such a place of chaos… I often wonder, "What if each and every one of us could 'really' tap our potential?" We seem to think that it is all about power and money, but it isn't folks. It is about living the truth of who we were meant to be; which is: we were meant to be God-like, not the ego-maniacs that have evidently hijacked our own reality from right under our proboscis Pinocchio noses...

Speaking of proboscises, I remembered, recently, one of my first dogs. Her name was Nutmeg, but we just called her Meg. She was a Weimaraner; you know, one of those William Wegman dogs that are all shimmering purple, with floppy ears, and long noses? What a trip… Meg, my dog, was hit by a car in the alley behind my house. My dad tried to pick her up and carry her into the house, but, in the accident, she had broken her back and then bit him when he tried to lift her. They were both bleeding when they came through the kitchen door. I remember it vividly... I made a painting of it once. The whole thing was cartoon-like and very happy-pastel with tiny blood red drops, but right in the corner, I painted myself. I was also happy-pastel, but my face… my face… the size of a thumbnail, was squinched into a mask of anguish, confusion, and fury.

We all have our masks, our faces that we put on to deal with the reality at hand. At work today, I got into this really interesting philosophical discussion with my workmates. One is a real Jewish mom. The other is a real Christian dad. We each had our own opinion about how mankind is shaped by the Creator. The Jewish mom was primarily focused on her kids, which makes perfect sense. The Christian dad was primarily focused on his personal vision of belief, which fits. And I was focused on my personal vision of belief as it relates to my personal experience as a father, I guess… The conversation got a little heated when the Jewish mom and the Jewish dad didn't agree with the Christian dad that humans were born inherently bad. The Jewish mom said something like, "When I look at my kids, how could I think such a thing? They may do stuff that is not necessarily good, but, just look at them! They are bright, beautiful little beings!" It made sense, but it wasn't really philosophy; it was living reality.

The Christian dad then started to vent at how he didn't mean 'her' kids, he meant Humanity in general. That is when I chimed in with the whole Yetzer deal… "It is not possible, in the realm of… 'reality,' for a human being to be inherently bad. If a person has the potential to be bad, that does not make the person intrinsically bad. We all have the ability to choose, in every micro-second of every moment, to do good or not to. This is what makes us God-like, Betzelem-Elokim."  The Jewish mom agreed. The Christian dad seemed to feel that he had not been able to get his point across…

As of late, I have become much more aware that there are forces at work, forces that, even though I have studied them and learned about how they fit perfectly into a 'rationally' based spiritual world, are way beyond what I will ever be capable of understanding. The forces that hit the hardest are the ones that tend to peel off our masks, to expose the bleeding edge of our personal ego-trips. Ultimately, I have to remember that it is all a trip and that every moment, regardless of how trivial or uneventful, how horrible or how tragic, is a gift. I have to remember that we were designed to be givers in a world that promotes takers. I have to remember that God is on my side, giving me the challenges that I can handle and making me go the long way around when I just can't deal…

It's all such a trip…

Shabbat Shalom!

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