For the first time in a long time, I finished reading a book in less than “months”. I am proud of myself. Usually it takes me anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months to read a book.
Could it be because I usually have about 2 or 3 books going at the same time? Could be.
Could it be that other facets of my life suck up my free time; time that would otherwise be spent reading? Maybe.
Could it be that the books I read are not considered light reading? Possibly.
With that framework set, let me also explain that the book I read was short – only 148 pages – and I committed to reading it over the weekend. In other words, I made time in my schedule to read, and only read….and I don’t fall down on my commitments.
I read “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” by Harold S. Kushner.
It was an eloquently presented analysis of how people use their concept of God in explaining, rationalizing, and living through their grief. The author presented his analysis of the validity of that approach.
I will let you read the book yourself; everyone has the right to draw his own conclusion within the framework of his own perspective and experience.
The point of this post is to boast that I finished reading my book in such a short period of time.
The other point of this post is to share a prayer that the author introduced in the chapter titled God Can’t Do Everything. It is a prayer by Rabbi Jack Reimer called Likrat Shabbat (“What to Pray For”).
We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end war;
For we know that You have made the world in a way
That we must find our own path to peace
Within ourselves and with our neighbors.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation;l
For You have already given us the resources
With which to feed the entire world,
If we would only use them wisely.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice;
For You have already given us eyes
With which to see the good in all people,
If we would only use them rightly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair,
For You have already given us the power
To clear away slums and to give hope,
If we would only use our power justly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease;
For You have already given us great minds
With which to search out cures and healing,
If we would only use them constructively.
Therefore we pray to You instead, O God,
For strength, determination and will power,
To do instead of just pray,
To become instead of merely to wish.
Many parts of the book addressed prayer. After every such reference, I couldn’t help but think of a friend who struggles with how to pray. He has shared with me how he struggles to believe that his prayers are heard because he is unsure if he is praying in the right way. He worries that his prayers are repetitive or useful.
It is heartbreaking to me that prayer could be such an ominous experience. Prayer is nothing more than communing with our higher power, a dialogue – hopefully similar to a dialogue we might have with a favorite and receptive friend. As with any conversation with friends, it ebbs and flows.
I finished that book, and am on to my next…praying all the time that I will glean as much out of it as I did out of this book.
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