Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Lord is My Shepherd...

Last night I finally finished Rabbi Harold S. Kushner's The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-Third Psalm. I received it as a gift from my husband for Christmas and was very glad to have read it.

The book is not big, only 175 pages, so it wasn't the size of the book that took me so long, it was what I was reading. (I am sure moving could play into this too.)

Kushner takes one of the most well known psalms:

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

from the Bible and delves deep into each part, taking apart each sentence and talking historically about what may have influenced the writer, what others have written about it and then making his own interpretations. In the end it all comes down to that God is with through you valleys and will always be there to walk you into the light and that the light is with him at the end and that is your home.

This is a book for anyone who has been through trying times or are going through them now because it shows there is hope and even though you may not be able to see it at the time of great distress there is hope to being happy. This passages said a lot to me...

"The psalm does not deny the shattering reality of death and loss, nor does it minimize how painful death and loss can be to us. It never asks us to pretend, as some religious teachings do, that death does not change things, that moving from life to death is no different that moving from New York to Chicago. It acknowledges the emotional darkness we find ourselves in when a loved one is dying or has died, the "valley of the shadow of death." But instead of cursing a God who permits our loved ones to die, it introduces us to a God who is with us in our pain, and who leads us through the dark valley back into the light. It summons us to live bravely, to go forward with our lives in the confidence that we are not alone.

For anyone who has lost someone close to them this is an important thing to hear. I know that when my brother Paul died less than two years ago it felt as if there would be no end to the pain. Crying could come at anytime and everything seemed dark. There wasn't a thought that the light was shining at the end of the tunnel. But there is. I still feel a great loss, but the ache is a little less and I can smile more when I talk and think about him.

Kushner is very easy to read and his thoughts are very well laid out. This is a book I will hang onto, because many of the things he says may come in handy later.

Next...a complete 360, Janet Evanovich's Seven Up. From what I gather so far it is a thriller comedy.

Any book that starts:
"For the better part of my childhood, my professional aspirations were simple-I wanted to be an intergalactic princess. I didn't care much about ruling hordes of space people. Mostly I just wanted to wear the cape and the sexy boots and carry a cool weapon.
peaks my's funny so far. Will let you know.

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