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Year Two, Day 16: "Like the Deer..."

My Breakfast


I am sitting at the kitchen table, eating a lovely breakfast, mostly from recipes from the book I have mentioned in previous posts, Miriam's Kitchen.  From the left corner, clockwise: Egg salad with fried mushrooms and onions on top of fresh spinach leaves from my daughters garden, "Mary's Gone Crackers" gluten free crackers, sauteed zuchinni and a cup of steamy hot coffee with real cream.

I am reading from the book about the authors grandmother who came from "The Old Country", against her wishes as a young lady. Her grandmother lost her own mother in the war, and was sent to the United States. Her fathers new wife was not welcoming, so she married young. And she made the best of her life caring for her family. But she never abandoned her old ways. And spoke Yiddish to her dying day. Yet she never complained. Always had a kind word, and delicious homemade food for her family, friends and strangers. Apparently she had no need for solitude. She loved being around people.

What a beautiful example of a human being!

I am crying now.  No, I am weeping.  Big, fat, hot crocodile tears.

Not only for the suffering that she, and so many people, Jewish and otherwise have endured, but for myself. I am selfishly grieving my lack of roots, lack of tradition, lack of such unconditional love for all people.

Also for memories of raising my own children. They grew up so fast.  I wish I could hold them on my lap again.  Spend more time with them. Tell them again how precious they are to me. To God.

They are adults now. Their childhoods is a glimmer in the past. They are very much living their lives in the present. I hope they know how much I love them.  And how I wish I could have given them more of myself.

In times like these, I wonder what people will remember me for?  I have been told I have a big heart. I believe I do. I have compassion. I am known to act on it. But I also continually dwell on my internal life.  I over analyze and regret the past.

I have no "Old Country". Could I honestly say Portland, Oregon, USA is my old country? If we had to flee and become refugees in a foreign land, would I long for my home?  Perhaps.  Yet, there is not much tradition.  Other than commercialized holidays where we feel pressured to buy $5.00 greeting cards and useless presents for people who often have more than they need. And dinners with too much food.  Family who share the same meal, but do not agree on much.  Different faiths, political views, opinions.  We have a true melting pot around our family table.

I sound bitter. Maybe to some this is refreshing.  I do love my family.  My friends. My students.  Strangers I meet.

But deep down, I really do not know myself. I am a stranger to me.

I closed the book. My heart is too heavy to continue today. I opened my Bible. I am on a second complete read through.  I am in Deuteronomy.  Interesting coincidence that I am immersed in a story of Jewish heritage and reading from the last book of the Torah.

This is what I just read:

Deuteronomy 1:34-46

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Penalty for Israel's Rebellion

34 “And the Lord heard your words and was angered, and he swore,35 ‘Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has trodden, because he has wholly followed the Lord!’37 Even with me the Lord was angry on your account and said, ‘You also shall not go in there. 38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.39 And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn, and journey into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.’



I am struck by how many chances God gave the Israelites to follow Him. And how, often out of fear and lack of faith they turned away.  

I desire stronger faith. My whining and self involvement reminds me of the "murmuring" of the Israelites in the wilderness when they worried about what they would eat and drink.  

I inhaled and felt a glimmer of hope and peace enter my soul. I turned to psalms.

I turned to my psalm of the day. Psalm 42.  My heart nearly stopped beating. Because every word of this psalm speaks to me and what I am feeling today.

Psalm 42

The Revised Grail Psalms: A Litrugical Psalter

Like the deer that yearns
for running streams,
so my soul is yearning
for You, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God,
the living God,
when can I enter and appear
before the face of God?

My tears have become my bread,
by day, by night,
as they say to me all the day long,
"Where is your God?"

These things will I remember
as I pour out my soul:
For I would go to the place
of your wondrous tent,
all the way to the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving,
the throng keeping joyful festival.

Why are you cast down, my soul;
why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise Him yet again, 
my saving presence and my God.

My soul is cast down within me,
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and Mount Hermon,
from the Hill of Mizar.

(Here I pause and look back into Deuteronomy.  Is Mount Hermon the "mountain of the Amorites" mentioned in Deuteronmony 1: 19? Again, I inhale deeply.  I google Mount Hermon and discover so much information that I will have to study much later.  But here is one interesting article: http://gods-kingdom-ministries.net/teachings/books/deuteronomy-second-law-speech-1/chapter-12-story-mount-hermon/)

Deep is calling on deep,
in the roar of your torrents;
Your billows and all your waves
swept over me.

By day the LORD decrees
His merciful love;
by night His song is with me,
prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God, my rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning 
oppressed by the foe?

With a deadly wound in my bones,
my enemies revile me,
saying to me all the day long,
"Where is your God?"

(Again I stop.  I see parallels here to Jesus last words on the cross.  And people mocking and sneering and asking if He is the Son of God, why cannot He call on Him and come down off of the cross? 

Again, regret seeps in. How could I have all my life not seen how the Old Testament and New Testament connect?)

Why are you cast down, my soul;
why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him yet again,
my saving presence and my God.



Powerful words to end this post on today.  

My soul is feeling revived and nourished.

On these Words.

May your Tuesday be blessed.

Shalom 



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