I am amazed at how my spiritual life evolves. One thing connects to another, and that to another, and each leads me back to the source. It finds its way into my writing.
Eight years ago, I began writing a novel on human dignity, The Hamsa. God gifted each of us with free will, the ability to make choices, right or wrong. He also bestowed dignity upon us, the quality of being worthy of respect. Each of us is born with it, and NO ONE can take it from us. We can give it away, but NO ONE can take it from us unless we offer it to him. That is the core message of The Hamsa.
There are those who have given their God-given dignity away. The list is long and not worth enumerating. There are others, like Bronisław Czech, the protagonist in The Hamsa who refuses to release their dignity through the gravest of times, who keep their eyes set upon the light that always glows in the heart of darkness.
Several weeks ago, I embarked on a study – with a friend – of the Book of Psalms. This week, we are contemplating the 3rd Psalm. This is one of the Psalms that scholars attribute to King David. In it he writes,
“You are a shield around me, Oh Lord. You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”
I smiled when I read those words, which in my preferred translation – Eugene Peterson’s The Message – reads, “But you, God shield me on all sides; you ground my feet, you lift my head high.”
Midway through The Hamsa at the Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bronisław Czech meets a young, Jewish boy, Yeheil. The boy explains to Bronek that on the backside of many hamsas is written one of the many Jewish names for God …
“Mine reads ‘Resh Aleph Hey,’” Yeheil says softly while staring at his hamsa, “Finding the Way.”
His father leans close, studies the worn and faded letters and says to his son, “You know what it says. You can tell him.”
“Magen Avraham, Shield of Abraham.” The boy speaks the words with such reverence that even my jovial mates are captured by the silence that follows and lingers like ripples on a pool of clear mountain water.
“Thank you,” I tell him. On his program I write, ‘Yeheil will find the way. From your new friend Bronek, the Shield of Abraham.’”
My life is an interesting circle, and I continue to grow and learn.
You are a shield around me, O Lord.