Thursday, May 17, 2012

Profound Truths

Sometimes when you blog, the title comes at you and then you stop. So much to say but haven't I said it already? Will anyone suddenly believe because they hear it this time? Will someone suddenly see?
After typing those two simple words, I was stuck. What profound truths do I want to share? What drives me day after day to return to this blog and open my home, my family, my life, my country to others? That is really what it all comes down to, I think...profound truths.

There are truths...and profound truths. Half truths, mis-truths (better known as lies). There are violations of the truth, profanities of truth, those who defend truth, those who uphold truth, and so much more. Today, today I want to write about profound truths and I'm at a loss because I'm not sure where to start.

There are profound truths in parenting. I've been a parent for 26 and a half years. Long, long ago, I realized that I am perfectly able to take care of yesterday - if only it would come again. It is today and tomorrow that confuse me, challenge me and sometimes defeat me. If I have to think of just one truth - the most profound of all, it would be this - children need love and, by extension, children know when they are loved.

I have done some amazing things as a parent - amazingly good and amazingly stupid. But of all the wrongs or rights, the most right, I think, is that my children know, without question, without hesitation, that I love them beyond words. Children need clothes, food, warmth...but love is what you give when a child calls to tell you they smashed the car (again). Love is what you give when a child tells you he failed a test because he didn't study. Love is what you give, always and without reservation so that some day, your child will come to you and tell you how much they love their child and deep inside you think - finally, she understands; finally, he knows.

There are profound truths in history. All along, I thought this post would be about politics. A few hours ago, I made Elie's favorite...or maybe not his favorite but something he likes - the tuna fritter. I sent some home with Amira and then I took four of them to the mall where Elie and Shmulik are both working.

I called Elie because he already knew that I was making them and so that left only Shmulik to surprise. Elie told me they were both upstairs guarding two different gates on the top floor. As I drove towards the mall, I saw two guards checking the cars. Each one looks at the person driving, the passengers. Sometimes they check the glove compartment, the rear seat. They ask you to pop the trunk and check that as well. This time, the guard was mine. Shmulik was there, and not upstairs as I thought. He smiled, took the tuna fritters and passed me through. I drove up the ramp to the top and took Elie his tuna fritters and we talked a while before I drove back home.

When I got back to my house, I went out on the balcony, looking towards the Judean Desert and the hills of Jordan far beyond. It was one of those rare occasions when I had the house to myself. I heard a young boy call to his mother; I heard her answer back. I heard a basketball hitting the hoop and in the distance what sounded like a motorcycle.

It was quiet. It was peaceful. And there is your profound truth. People find peace even in places that are, on some level, at war every day.

Today in Israel, the head of the police ordered all police cars to run with flashing blue lights all the time - at least until September. It is intended to make them more visible and make people feel more secure. I think one of the profound truths I want to share is that Israel is a nation at peace because, by and large, we are at peace with ourselves. I walk through my neighborhood and meet friends who tell me they have seen my sons at the mall.

"The one who got married last year," she says. Ah, Shmulik.

"The older one, I think," he says. Ah, Elie.

I can go out on my balcony now - at night and in the dark, or walk up the block and feel no fear. I do not live in fear. And at this moment, I have one child asleep at home. In a few hours, three of my children will be in their homes - until tomorrow night and Saturday lunch, when they will again come to my home. My table will be full this weekend - as full as I ever imagined it to be and I now have the hope, the prayer, the faith to know it will yet be more full.

My parents are coming. One couple is coming to join us Friday night; the other two couples will join us for lunch. Tomorrow will be a mad day of cooking and cleaning (I already started today) and then more peace will come to my country as we welcome the Sabbath.

I can tell you that in 1948, 850,000 Jews left or were forced out of Arab lands and came to live in the newly re-declared State of Israel, and I can tell you that about the same number of Arabs fled and yes, in some cases (very few) were forced out. I can tell you that those Arabs who chose to stay were given citizenship and full rights; more than the Arabs who fled would receive in the countries they went to.

I can tell you that if the Arabs would stop firing rockets and attempting to launch terrorist attacks against us; if tomorrow they accepted our right to live here in peace - there would be peace. I can tell you that they target our civilians in their attacks while we do our best to avoid harming theirs.

All of these are the profound truths I thought of when those two words popped into my head as the title for this post. But truthfully, the most profound truth of all is that I am so blessed to live here in my land, with my family, my children. And I live in peace - the kind that fills the heart with joy.

My grandson learns new tricks each time I see him (several times a week). As I drove away from their home after dropping Amira and the baby off, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw her wonderful husband approach them, arms outstretched in joy as he took his son into his arms and greeted his wife after a day in the army.

Aliza baked cupcakes and brought home some to give us - a special pink one for me.  Her father's cupcake is sitting near his computer waiting for him to get home. Elie has married a wonderful young lady who was and is a part of our family. Chaim called me because his older sister said she was going to call me and he thought he better call me first. Yaakov wrote me a note telling me he was my favorite son (and I agreed so long as he promised not to tell the others).

Shmulik married a young woman who is so sweet, so gentle, so beautiful. We speak in Hebrew but last week, she asked me to help her with her English homework and she made me tea. Davidi is coming home later tonight; he's gotten so tall and just called to tell me that he couldn't find any pants to buy in the mall but heard about a place that takes almost 2 hours to get to by bus. I'm going to give him profound love as much as I can because he really should work harder in school and buy pants 15 minutes from his school where Elie told him to buy them.

I could go on and on, so I'll end with the most profound truth of all - God put us on this world and gave us life. What we make of it - love or hate - is up to us.

4 comments:

AliasJoe said...

Amen! Another wonderful post, Paula.


Shalom,
"Joe"

jan said...

Lovely, just lovely, what more can I say! Thanks for sharing these precious family stories...it makes me miss my Israeli son so much, Jan

Kim said...

It is so nice to read about your beautiful family. I do not know too much about the situation in Israel and i am glad you feel safe.
Here in North America we read and hear about the settlements, especially in the West Bank, that land is being taken away from the Palestinians. I don't remember if you have written about this before, but what is your view on it?

A Soldier's Mother said...

Hi Kim - welcome to my blog and thanks for your kind words. I live in a "settlement" - a beautiful city that just celebrated it's 40th anniversary. Almost 50,000 people live here. We have a mall, emergency services, dozens of schools, parks, stores. We even have a bowling alley and a lake (and we are in the desert). Of course, the lake dries up because despite the will of the mayor, the will of nature remains stronger. No Arabs lost their land when Maale Adumim was built; no Arab was made homeless. No land was taken from them. It had been state-owned land ruled by the Ottomans before the turn of the century. Of course, they did nothing with it and so the land was barren. Then the British got a mandate and ruled the area - and, of course, they did nothing with it, so it was still barren. Then, the Jordanians got the land in 1948 after they attacked the newly declared State of Israel (hours after the declaration made with the support of the United Nations and recognized by a majority of nations in the world). Jordan, of course, did nothing with it and so it remained barren. In 1967, Israel launched a preemptive attack against Syria and Egypt - both of which were making clear threats and plans to attack, as they had done in the past. Israel begged Jordan NOT to get involved; stated clearly that we would NOT attack and our problems were with Egypt and Syria only. The Jordanians sent back a message - we fight with our brothers. And they did...and they, like their "brothers" lost and so what is often referred to as the West Bank of the Jordan river, was conquered by Israel. That land, which had lay barren for centuries - has become green and cultivated - and not houses hundreds of thousands of people in beautiful little villages - none of which were created by destroying ANYTHING that the Arabs might have built.

That was the "big land grab" - an attack made on us - in which the attacker lost and we won. The land which we won...back...had been part of the Israel that existed in the past, and is part of the Israel that is today. If there are any other "occupations" - they are taken to court, quickly, by Arabs to demand that Jews be removed and each government quickly responds. Not only that - there are many cases of Arabs who sell their land to Jews, take the money, and then, afraid they will be killed, claim Jews stole their land.

And so, the courts and government investigate; the deed is researched and then, after much money is wasted, the deed is confirmed; and the Arab typically murdered by his neighbors. This happened recently and years ago. The first place we moved to from America was a small village of about 300 families - bought from 3 Arab families who had hired another Arab to act as their agent. The sale was legal; the agent murdered a few months later.

Today, that small village - and yes, it is a settlement - houses 1,000 families. Are you telling me it is acceptable that an Arab cannot sell his land to whomever he wants and should suffer the death penalty if he does this? That is the punishment of the Palestinian Authority.

Otherwise, the area where the Jews build in theses settlements - which really are simply beautiful towns filled with gardens and schools, small stores, etc. - has not grown since 1967. Yes, sometimes a neighborhood is added on - on yet another barren hill that is not inhabited by Arabs. Maale Adumim is completely surrounded by unoccupied, barren hills - the minute we dare to build new homes on one of these hills - the world screams as if we have dragged people from their homes, destroyed them, etc. This is not the truth - this is the media and modern journalism no longer happy with the concept of reporting the news and thinking they have the right to make it.

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