Find The Good!

Accordingly, Jesus sent Peter and John off with the instruction,
“Go and prepare our Passover supper for us.”

Luke 22:6

While in Israel, we celebrated a special Shabbat Dinner with a local family. It was Friday night just after Sabbath began when we poured into the modest apartment of an Orthodox Jewish couple. This couple shared their Sabbath experience to extend their good will and to provide an opportunity for them and their guests to eat and pray together. This was an authentic experience which included one toddler, two preschoolers, Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa and us guests. Our hosts also invited a few friends.

After settling into our places, this couple asked us to introduce and to share something about ourselves. In the process, one of the couple’s guests spoke of his emigration to Israel. Noam is 29 and a native of Baltimore, Maryland. He’d moved to Israel a year earlier for his job. Noam described his immediate uneasiness within this foreign culture. Though he is a good Jew, Noam was unprepared for life in this strange place. He found people to be refreshingly, and sometimes frighteningly, direct. His mild-mannered demeanor proved to be no asset as he tried to assimilate. Still, Noam persisted. He recognizes that life isn’t perfect anywhere on this earth and that it’s up to each one of us to find the good wherever we are and the goodness within ourselves. With only this revelation to guide him, Noam eventually decided to make Israel his permanent home. Though he couldn’t explain the reason, he felt that he truly belonged in this place.

I was taken aback by Noam’s bravery, his perceptiveness and his persistence. As we continued our meal together, I wondered where I might look more carefully for the goodness around me. Perhaps I need to look within as well…

Dear God, you send each one of us into this life filled with goodness. Help us to find the goodness in one another and to do good wherever we are.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Is With Us

As for you, every hair of your head has been counted;
so do not be afraid of anything.

From Matthew 10:28-33

I will always be grateful for the amazing authors I met through reading assignments throughout college. Though these were not face-to-face encounters, they were certainly life-changing. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross pioneered near-death experience studies. I read her work for a class on death and dying. The good doctor’s scientific research regarding life after this life underscored what my faith had already convinced me was true. While she endured ridicule from others in her field, Kübler-Ross persisted. In the aftermath, many well respected medical professionals substantiated and added to her research. Many others continue to do so today.

I read Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel for a philosophy class. This amazing man’s stalwart spirit sustained him through one of human history’s most heinous episodes. His endurance continues to inspire me during the difficulties with which our world wrestles today.

These authors touched me with the amazing strength they exhibited in the face of adversity. Though our encounters through the written word occurred decades ago, they continue to inspire much of what I do.

Loving God, every one of us meets adversity along the way. Help me not to fear the bumps in the road ahead because You will walk over them or around them with me.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved