Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heaven & Hell

My friend Ian shared this wonderful parable with me.  Thanks, Ian


A Rabbi was asked to explain heaven & hell, and he explained it with this story:

The Rabbi went to visit both hell and heaven and saw that the set-up appeared identical in both locations: long banquet tables full of food and residents seated at the tables to eat.

In Hell there is great suffering; those seated at the table are unable to bend their elbows and can not reach the food. They are tortured sitting in front of all of the sustenance and going hungry because they can not reach it.

In heaven, just as in hell, there are large tables of food; just as in hell, the residents of Heaven are unable to bend their elbows to eat the food in front of them.

In heaven, however, everyone is happy and satiated. They do not go hungry. Upon further observation, the Rabbi learns why. In heaven, each resident extends his arm to feed his neighbor across the table. His neighbor thanks him and returns the favor.

The Rabbi pities the residents of hell and returns to hell to suggest this strategy. The residents respond with spite and distrust of their neighbors, stubbornly refusing to feed those around them. Every one starves in hell.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I don't like it when they change my furniture!

For at least a year of my life, Josh and I lived happily in a small basement apartment in Chapel Hill. Josh had a particular affection for cats and described certain of my behaviors as "kitty-like."

As he pointed out, I tend to wander off in mid-conversation without announcing my departure. I tend to very quickly jump up and run out of rooms for no apparent reason. I am hyper-sensitive to environmental cues, can be skittish at some times, and sociable in other instances, mostly when I want something like food.

Most notably, Josh said, "You're just like a cat. You don't like when your furniture changes." I denied being this way, of course, until my furniture actually did change.

While I lived in the basement apartment, I slept on a vintage orange couch adjacent to the window. I was comfortable there and refused to sleep elsewhere. I could wake up with the sunlight, staring at the plants on the window-sill and the woods outside the window.

One day our landlord had the audacity to replace the couch with a newer sleeper sofa. I am not a furniture snob, but I had gotten so comfortable with my couch that I actually cried a few tears over the loss. Josh tried to console me by convincing me that the new couch was way better than the old one and that I would grow to love this one as much as the old one. It had fold-out capabilities afterall! Well, remarkably, Josh was right. I grew to love the new couch.

Since our time in the cozy little Chapel Hill apartment, my furniture has not undergone too many changes, but it seems like nearly everything else in my life has.

If there's one thing I'm trying to work on, it's my tendency to try and cling to what's ephemeral.

Change, for me is scary. Of course, I remember my 9th grade English teacher telling me (prior to my big move from Charlotte to New Orleans) that "Most things worth doing are scary."

I got offered a job in Asheville today. So, now I sit here freaking out, as I tend to whenever good things start to happen in my life. Opportunities mean choices. Choices mean potential wrong choices. Often walking through one door means closing off another door.

I don't like changing furniture, but sometimes change just has to happen.