An eager young man longing to live a good life, went to his rabbi and said, “I know that the Hebrew Scriptures say that we ought to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength. But I am very much aware that my heart and soul and mind and strength have bad parts in them. So, tell me, how can I love God?”
After a pause the rabbi replied, “Well, it seems that you’re going to have to learn how to love God with the bad parts too.”
“The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest, but wholeheartedness.” David Steindl-Rast in response to a question by poet David Whyte.
“In fiction good people do good things and bad people do bad: that’s why it is called fiction!” (Oscar Wilde) In real life bad people can do good things and good people can do bad things.
A gardener once worked for a heart surgeon. The heart surgeon was an atheist. The gardener was a man of faith. They got on very well together, but often had friendly arguments about the nature of life, and faith, and the spiritual life.
One day the heart surgeon thought he had finally settled the argument when he told the gardener: “You talk about ’soul’, but let me tell you that I have cut open thousands of human hearts in the course of my career, but not once have I found a ‘soul’ inside.”
“Well,” replied the gardener, “I have to tell you that in the course of my work over all these long years in your garden, I have accidentally sliced through many buried daffodil bulbs with my spade, but I have never seen a daffodil inside them.”
Quoted in Margaret Silf, One Hundred More Wisdom Stories
(Lion Hudson, 2014) page 28
- Because something cannot be seen, does not mean it does not exist.
- What is to be, is hidden deeply within us, and will be revealed only in God’s time and through Gods’ power.
A young man who went to a rabbi and said, “I know that we are commanded to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength. But I know that my heart and soul and mind and strength have bad parts in them. So how can I love God?”
After a pause the rabbi replied, “It seems you will just have to love God with the bad parts too.”
Anything that is worth doing is worth doing well, the saying goes. But G.K. Chesterton amended it. Anything that is worth doing is worth doing even badly, he said!
Do you refuse to sing until you are as good as Pavarotti? Do you refuse to dance until you are another Anna Pavlova?
How did we learn to walk? By walking badly, by toddling, by falling down innumerable times. How did we learn to write our names? How do we learn to love?