When I was a teenager my mother would beat me to go to church. And not using the traditional belts with the iron buckle– oh, no, my mother was ingenious– hanger, shoes heel… broom… ply board. She was fearless. She beat to coerce not to harm but I was resolute, stubborn and proud. It was not until very recently, through the medium of YouTube nonetheless, that I became interested in the Bible, not as a medium through which to have a relationship with God– I’m still working on that– but as an interesting area of study.
For example, I just found out that Moses was an introvert that is why he was paired up with the more outspoken Aaron, proving that both personalities are necessary for leadership. Wicked! But one of the more interesting things I found was that there are three beautiful books in the Bible: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job, called The Wisdom Series that explain the meaning of life from three different perspectives. Please, if you have the time watch them on this amazing channel, The Bible Project. The site traces majority of the Bible’s stories through animation, revealing things about men and women and God that are frightening relatable. Quick lessons I learnt from The Book of:
says that life rewards and punishes each man by the integrity of his actions. So, if you are evil you are finished, if you are good you are rewarded. Fair enough.
however, says that this is a lie. Ecclesiastes teaches that life is broken down into three areas: chance, time and death. Good things happen to bad people because that is life: the newborn baby dies while the rapist wins the Super Lotto. There is no reason, cause or vendetta behind these events; truly, they create bigger ripples in God’s universe than we as humans can ever imagine. Secondly, there were people and riches and land etc. long before us and there will be more of these things long after us, we ain’t special. Also, time is the ultimate master and equalizer, we will all get where we need to be, we can’t fight fate. Lastly, the good and the bad shall both return to the earth as dust. No man is more than another regardless of the segregation that occurred during his lifetime.
merges both perspectives together through an anecdote. Regardless of the fact that he was a rare thing, a wealthy and a righteous man, Job was randomly chosen by God to suffer loss without reason. As time went by, Job mourned, forsaked, returned to God and rebuilt. God eventually gifts to him so much more that what he lost and then Job eventually dies.
The Wisdom Series helped me, along with losing some important parts of myself that defined me this year, to streamline realistically the person reflected back at me each day. For a long time I was in mourning and now I am finally deciding to heal, slowly. I see true humility as one of the most misunderstood and hardest things to attain in this lifetime, The Book of Job helped me to understand that, and it is probably why on a whim, one night, this summer, I woke up, felt philosophical and decided to write this for myself (and now for you):
There is always a lot of talk about success. As if showing that you are winning is good enough. Show me the lives that you have touched, the people you have given opportunities, the people who you have turned into leaders because you have told them that they deserve this. Show me your influence. Then I will say you are successful.
In life it is not what you are running towards (because nobody knows that. Ever.), it is what you are running away from: fame, being used and abused, not completing goals, keeping yourself from happiness, fear of rejection. It is about stripping everything bad, not taking on everything good. Makes you feel freer, don’t it? Similarly it’s not: who am I or what do I want out of life but what am I not and what don’t I want out of life.
It is very important to express intelligence through a medium instead of sounding intelligent (eg. public speaking or debating or writing a self-help book). This way, it all goes to your head less. Stella Adler once said something along the lines of: life sucks your soul, art allows you to remember that you have one.
Lastly, when we move we move slow. And we don’t talk about it. Success is never loud. It feels wrong when arrogance is mistaken for pride. Shut up. Move quiet. Keep it private. Opposite to what you feel, people do not care what you do and no one watches you unless you make yourself known. Do not make yourself known. Choose who you give your love to, work in the dark, bring your work to the light in time, know your parents, know your home. And that is all. — Bless.
[cover art by: Osnat Tzadok]