My ancestors were good, religious Jews, a proud and stalwart people from Russia and Eastern Europe who in my grandparent’s generation immigrated to America. Residing in Jewish tenements near the East River in turn-of-the-century New York City, my relatives remained immersed in Old World Jewish tradition. My maternal great-grandfather was a Hebrew scholar. I was expected to marry a good Jewish boy, and, yes, a doctor would be nice. Yet in spite of their strong Jewish heritage, the religious beliefs of those in my parent’s generation broke down when long-held traditions and sacred ritual melded into intellectual pursuit. We became cultural Jews.
Thank you to everyone who participated in my one-sentence-overview survey. Your comments helped me realize that I need to rework the book’s current theme (toxic faith). Albeit, my story includes some amazing experiences in a toxic church, my life is richer and more colorful than those isolated experiences. I need to define a theme that incorporates more of that rich and colorful aspect.
The first ¾’s of my speech went well last night. After practicing for over a month, words flowed from my mouth with the ease of clover honey. I engaged my audience with carefully chosen words, eye contact, and well-calculated humor.
Then I saw the yellow light. In a 5-7 minute Toastmaster speech, the yellow light means one thing: the speaker is one minute over the minimum time and one minute from the maximum. But I was waiting for the green light to tell me that I had just enough time left to bring the grand finale, the most poignant part of my speech.
I never saw the green light.
From the moment I saw the yellow light, my mind took a skid. I struggled to recall those well-practiced words, but they had retreated to places beyond my grasp. Then the red light appeared. I had 30-seconds remaining.
Wait! I wanted to tell the audience. Can I press rewind? I spit words out, trying to catch up. But it was too late. I crossed the line into overtime. My speech was disqualified.
Like a good sport, I smiled and congratulated the winners. I graciously thanked the people who complimented my speech. But I knew what the speech could have been.
Fascinating. I was glued to the tube during Oprah Winfrey‘s Master Class program tonight. Her childhood, her career, her conviction about the value of each and every human being. Wish I took notes. She spoke (and I paraphrase) about purpose, how one knows when they are doing what they are meant to do. Because, she said, it feels right; it feels like home. She exhorted everyone who didn’t know their purpose to find it. Determine to find your purpose.
I know that my ultimate purpose is to love the Lord God with all my heart, mind, and soul and to love my neighbor as myself. But how? How do I touch others? I touch them through writing. At least I try.