Thursday, May 14, 2009

Breaking God's Windows

If you've never noticed, this blog has a gadget on the left-hand side that has a "Jewish Proverb of the Day." I keep wondering if I should delete it, mostly because the proverbs are rarely that good, and it doesn't really fit very well (a pointless little smiley guy blocks out some of the actual proverb. Good planning, that). Today, I happened to notice that the proverb is, "If God lived on earth, people would break his [sic] windows."

Wow. That's pretty dark. I guess that's trying to say something about human nature - how, deep down, we just can't help ourselves, and we'll always act badly, no matter how much we know we shouldn't. Or, maybe it's defensive - if someone is attacking us, we should know that it's not because we're bad, but because that's just what people do--they attack. Even God would get attacked, where S/he down here.

I guess that that last interpretation actually does speak to me. It's important to remember that, very often, how people treat us says a lot more about them than it does about us. Of course, this can be taken too far, and it can become an excuse for never admitting our own fault in a particular conflict. But, on whole, I think it's useful. A Rabbinic friend of mine once taught me that, no matter what happens to me, I should say, "I am not the doer."* If someone is really angry at me, I am not the doer. If someone is praising me, I am not the doer. It's a way to remember that, even in the things that we do, there is some One else who is involved. Who gets the credit (or the blame). Humans tend to think "it's all about me." When, it's closer to the truth to say, "it's never about me." Not completely true, but closer.

*it just so happens that, as I was typing this post, my friend starting chatting with me over Skype (see how techie I am?). I told him I was quoting him, and he reminded me that he was really just channeling Dueteronomy which warns us against ever thinking that our accomplishments are "the work of our hands." It all goes back to God. Reminds me of a joke - a bunch of scientists tell God that they don't need Him any more. They've figured out all of creation. "Even making people?" God asks. "Sure," they say. "OK, then, I'll make you a deal." God says. "We'll have a people-making contest. If you can make a person as well as I can, then I'll leave you alone. Otherwise, I still get to be God. I go first." So, God takes clay, molds it into a person, blows a breath into it, and *poof* - it comes alive. The scientists say, "that's easy. Watch." And, as they start gathering clay, God says, "No, no, no. That's cheating. You have to get your own clay."

I am not the doer.

I am not the doer.

I am not the doer.

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