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Please Write This Book: A Year in Chesed

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of course there is dancing

In A Year in Provence, British copywriter Peter Mayle, moved to France and wrote about this place of exceptional food, wine and beauty. Mayle provided his reader with nearly first-hand experiences of cooking, shopping and conversation. Along the way we saw hints of a different way of living.

I want to read a book that takes a similar journey, but rather than air travel to a glorious foreign country, I want the author to settle into a land devoid of anxiety and full of bonhomie toward men and women. I want the author to get there by following the thread of meaning from a very particular foreign word: “Chesed

Google chesed and you’ll find a central Jewish value that means (for starters) “lovingkindness,” but points to much, much more. This old Hebrew word appears 247 times in the Torah and 127 times alone in the Psalms. “Chesed” has shades of meaning in the Torah, variously translated to English as: loving-kindness, mercy, favor, pity.

I imagine living in chesed is something like life in a foreign country. My glimpses of this country come mostly through the Psalmists who use the word again and again as they respond to or acknowledge God’s care. It is a word that describes a way of life that is the polar opposite of my country’s “Black Friday,” and all that consumerist orgy represents.

As you write this book, please take long, generous expeditions into this land of living in gratefulness and thanksgiving. Explore how the inhabitants of this land depend on materials and attitudes already in their possession. Please show me what contentedness looks like. Show me how they brush off the slights and insults and lack of fame because they are grounded with a deeply-rooted faith-joy in the creator. I imagine this land as anti-Kim Kardashian: Sopping with contentment. Joy. Stability. Not glamorous. Not narcissistic. Not attention-seeking. So that means your book won’t get on the news every evening. But I’ll buy a copy.

Spend a full year there. Show me what happens when the crops are not bountiful and enemies encroach. Show me chesed when taxes are due and when plans go terribly wrong.

Please write this book soon because my land is teaming with insects whose bite results in a longing for more shiny stuff and much daily fame. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking through the postcards the psalmists sent.

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Image Credit: Via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

December 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

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