One of the first friends I’ve had the joy of meeting here in the Hill Country has been my friend Lori. Our friendship has become proof that people from different places of faith can get along and even grow in their beliefs. Lori has enriched my life in many ways. But first, I want to talk about how we became friends.
Lori emailed me through this wonderful newspaper and shared her respect and appreciation for the Jewish people. After a few more emails were exchanged, I was excited to finally meet my first Texas friend for coffee at a lovely little place called The Loft.
Ever since then, we’ve exchanged thoughts about the complex relationship between Jews and Christians. One topic that remains of abiding interest to me is the peculiar fascination many Christians have about Jews. I remember sitting in Sunday School and taking in countless teachings about the “end times” and how the Jewish people, namely Israel, fit in with the Rapture, Armageddon and even the antichrist. I’ve been taught that the antichrist has to emerge from the Jewish people. In the past 8 years, I’ve immersed myself in Judaism and haven’t found much emphasis on the end of the world. Rather, the focus is on repairing the damage that has been done to the Earth we’ve been gifted with.
Lori’s had the joy of visiting Israel; I’ve yet to have the honor. But I could see Jerusalem through her eyes; the Western Wall became real for me. I’ve heard people talk of visiting Israel before and am always wanting to hear more. One person told me that Israeli’s are more intimate with body space, they don’t keep as much distance between one another during everyday things like conversations. It’s also been joked the reason for this is because the country is so tiny; they don’t have much room to do otherwise.
And of children, we find many points of agreement and our kids enjoy playing together. My stepdaughter adores Lori’s children. And it’s very neat to me how people of faith actually share common values and imparts them to their kids. We value integrity, kindness, honesty and respect for one another, even in places of differences. Maybe these common threads are the things that bring interfaith groups together to dialogue? I used to think the differences between all of us could never be bridged. Now I’m seeing that we might not ever completely agree on everything, but on places that matter the most, we arrive when we need to.
Thank you Lori; may we be friends for years to come and thank your friends for reading this column each week!