Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, December 29, 2008

A good author...

I am reading a book by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. It is called "How Good do we have to be?" (I bought it at a second hand bookstore.... I think heaven will be heaps of secondhand book stores and heaps of hardware stores... I would be in heaven!) Perhaps I bought it because I want to rationalise my bad behaviour? He is a good writer. I have two other books of his, "When bad things happen to Good People." and "Who needs God?" Both I found helpful. Any way a quote from this book rings bells with me. It may also with you.
"My experience as a clergyman and a counsellor has taught me that much of the unhappiness people feel burdened by, much of the guilt, much of the sense of having been cheated by life, stems from one of two related causes: either somewhere along the way, somebody - a parent, a teacher, a religious leader - gave them the message that they were not good enough, and they believed it. Or else they came to expect and need more from the people around them - their parents, children, husbands, or wives - than those people could realistically deliver. It is the notion that we were supposed to be perfect, and that we could expect others to be perfect because we needed them to be, that leaves us feeling constantly guilty and perpetually disappointed."

Wow... He's talking about me! I oscillate between depression - anger at myself- and judgemental attitudes and anger toward others.

A little bit further in the book he writes...
"We need the demanding voice of the prophet to hold us to high standards, so that we can grow and be all that we are capable of being. We need to be told that God loves us because we are in fact lovable people, because we deserve love, because we have earned it. And we need the comforting voice of the priest to assure us that even when we don't feel we deserve to be loved, God loves us anyway because He is a loving, forgiving God who knows us too well to expect more from us than we are capable of being."
These are not new insights, but I am finding the way he puts them together helpful. Its good to have time to read.

Exercise report.... Since I started on this "5 week, exercise-every-day get fit again" journey I have exercised 9 days out of 15. On two of the off days I was setting up or resetting the church before and after Christmas Day dinner. I think I ran up and down enough stairs for it to count as exercise.... so I have exercised 11 days of the 15. I am feeling better about myself already. :-) I will keep you posted.


Mike Crowl said...

Interesting that Kushner is sounding more like a Christian all the time!

The Dad Who Walks said...

I suspect the difference between what "we are" and what "we are capable of being" is often courage.

But, apart from all that, I find your honesty astonishing, and it's one of the main reasons I enjoy following your blog.