The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


This morning, during Mass, I wondered about "fear of God." I like to think of God as a positive, kindly, on-my-side kind of a guy. But as I knelt in my pew, I remembered that "fear of God is the beginning of wisdom," and I wondered if I had become a little too comfortable in the face of His providence.

On returning home, what should I find waiting for me in my inbox but a message from Chabad.org Magazine titled, "Are We Supposed to be Afraid of G-d?"

Following the link contained in the email lead me to an article by Aron Moss. In his understanding, "fear" is not an apt translation of the concept contained in the phrase "fear of God." The idea is better conveyed by the word "respect."
The difference between love and respect is that when I love, I am preoccupied with my feelings toward you; when I respect, I am focusing on your presence rather than mine. Love is my desire to approach you. Respect is my deference to your otherness, your right to be who you are. When you love someone but do not respect them, it ends up being all about you. The other is simply an object of your love; their opinion is not taken seriously, and they are not treated as a real being.
This certainly rings a bell for me. I have always been drawn to horses, and my love for them has always made me want to approach them. But their allure often ended up causing me to try and possess them, to make them in my own image, to force them to validate me - instead of allowing them the space to be who they are.

In the last couple of years, I have begun to learn to step back and be willing to not approach. To forgo a physical approach - and also to refrain (often) from approaching the horse with my plans, my program, my agenda.

In turn, the horses have begun to approach me. As I have stopped prodding and pressing them, they seem to have gradually, in front of my eyes, assumed a shape and character to which I was blind as long as I tried to control them.

As I suggested in a recent post, when Moshiach comes, no doubt the horses will help tell us where to go, and when, and I like to think Chloe and friends are teaching me to get ready to listen up good. The immediate answer I received to my question about the fear of God, and the way the answer had so clear a relevance to my relationship with the horses - how can I not believe?

In the meantime, however, that Bridget still needs to be a teeny bit more polite about backing up.

Evening on the Lawn

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