After my wife’s and my conversions were all over, I wrote a book. My book is entitled The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, and I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told.
My book (it’s our book, really) explains to Jews and to Christians what happened—the why and how—but it’s addressed to one other group as well.
Perhaps it’s addressed to you.
Perhaps you are a seeker, religiously unaffiliated, or, if affiliated, unconvinced. To you, our tale may be of interest. We were like you, particularly when we stumped wearily across our desert of discontent.
Here’s what happened to us. At the far end of the desert, we came upon a religious river, and now we are on its other side. Over here, it is a green and pleasant land.
It is satisfying over here; difficult, painful, too.
As a seeker, perhaps you are hiking a long, dry road, and you are caked with dust and sweat. Perhaps you are low on water and sore of knee. Me, in the desert, I could scarcely imagine where our next drink should come from, we were so parched.
If you believe there’s a reason for your journey, and that you have been called to set out into the unknown, then, I say, stick with it, sore and dry as you may be. Up ahead—just around the next bend—you may find that same religious river we found flowing past.
…if you believe there’s a reason for your journey.
If you do encounter the river, then turn aside. Walk down to its shore. Slip off your pack. Crick your back. Walk a step or two. Feel that breeze?
It’s good, isn’t it, to strip off your boots and your hot socks. Dip your soles into the river. Then roll up your pants above your knees and wade deeper out. Go out until the water is above your knees—get your pants wet. Go to where the river’s current presses against you, and its coldness shortens your breath, and the sand melts away under your feet.
Go until you need to make swimming motions in the air with your arms in order to keep yourself in balance.
What next, pilgrim?
Shall you relax into the flow?
My wife Channa and I stood just exactly where you stand right now.
We—we, all of us—we stand right there—just wondering—do we not?
We can always go back, we reassure ourselves. The shore, our packs, our histories are…just there. See them? Right back there.
But perhaps we should relax into the flow.
The water’s cold. You know it’ll shock your skin if you let it take you into its flow. It’s powerful. It will sweep you along.
If you take just one more step….
If you relax into its flow….
Back there on the shore is everything that keeps you dry. Out here in the middle, you’re half wet already.
Here’s what you’ll need, if you relax into the flow.
You’ll need more than thinking to make it to the other side. Brain power won’t cut it.
You’ve got the best brain God could give you, and you use it a lot, so you know for sure that it’s a good one. Yes, you’ve got intractable troubles, of course—bad times, empty times, locked times—but doesn’t everybody?
Right here, right now, for example. Somehow you don’t feel that you can argue yourself into relaxing into the flow. But what a relief it would be, just to let go.
For once, how ecstatic to say yes with your heart and your soul. Not always the--no, no, no.
You’ll need to go beyond that marvelous brain of yours, which keeps you safe with its no, no, nos. You’ll need to do what you read about in that Book one time.
The enslaved people had hollered “Yes!” and had escaped into the desert, and they’d run, run, run until they’d come right up against an entire ocean barring their way. And they were being pursued to be slaughtered, and they’d--
Well, what had they done?
Had they engaged their brains to engineer a defensive strategy, thrown up earthworks for protection, sharpened their eyes? No. They had stopped. They had waited. They had believed.
And there are you, just like them. You’re standing in the middle of a religious river, half wet, half wet enough
You will need to dare.
Most especially, you will need to dare.
Most especially, you will need to dare and to succumb.
You have the ability to succumb. I know you do. Just look at you—out there in the middle of the river, balanced precariously between no and yes, wet all the way up to your chest by now, almost to your neck.
Wanting it to be OK to say yes.
And if you do succumb and relax into the flow, will it be startling?
Will it be frightening?
Will others understand it?
Some, but not all.
Will you be shunned?
Maybe, by some.
Will that matter?
…Will that matter???
You must pray…
…that it will not matter.
For what may matter to you by then is that there will be Someone waiting on the other shore who will leap to bring you in.
More: Chapter Three