Quietly With God
Someone once offered Karen and me a free week-long cruise. All we had to do was buy the flights to San Juan and do a little Chanukah candle-lighting service on board every night. Call us nuts, but we turned it down. Why? Well for one thing, it was not a kosher cruise so we would have been relegated to eating that horrible prepackaged airline-type food. But what it really came down to is that neither of us have any burning desire to go on a cruise. I know, everyone gushes how great they are, but frankly I am not interested in being stuck on a boat – I don’t care how large – with thousands of other people. I don’t want to be herded along with a crowd on or off the ship.
And this is a common theme in my life. I just don’t like to do the things that everyone else is doing. In fact I like to do what nobody else is doing. For instance, I don’t want to go see the Miami Marlins now that they are in their new stadium. I liked it when they played in a football stadium and it looked like this:
Yes, I was at this game a number of years ago – I took the photo. According to Yahoo Sports, there were less than 350 people in attendance that afternoon and it was most likely the least attended baseball game in all of history. I went with three of my kids, which made my family over 1% of the total audience! I like being part of history for such non-events.
Or, don’t even get me started about driving a Saab. Thanks to the fact that they went out of business and stopped making them in 2011, their resale value stinks and nobody wants them. Three years ago I was able to score a lightly used Saab 9-3 with under 16,000 miles for the same price that I paid in 1995 for a Ford Aerostar – a car too primitive even for Fred Flintstone. I like driving a car that is less prevalent on Florida roads than a Lamborghini.
One of the first rules of economics is the law of Supply and Demand. The more something is in demand coupled with the greater the scarcity, the greater the price. On the other hand, the more availability coupled with less demand, the lower the price. The key to getting something special is to learn to love the things no one else cares about. I have found that there are plenty of great opportunities where the supply is more than ample and the demand is minimal – and that is where I like to be.
And while this is true about scoring a good bargain, more importantly it happens to be true about almost everything else in life – even spiritual things. Often, the best things in life – in both the material as well as the spiritual world – are those which go completely unnoticed and ignored by others. Indeed, the Talmud says that “Blessings come to those things that are not spoken about.” If you want something really special, it can often be found in those quiet places far away from the fanfare.
There is an episode in Tanach about the prophet, Elijah where he is told by God to wait by a cave for God to appear. A powerful rock-shattering wind comes along but Elijah perceives that God is not in the wind. This is followed by an earthquake and again Elijah understands that God is not in the earthquake. Then a fire came forth but Elijah knew that God was not in the fire. Finally Elijah hears a still small voice, and then and only then does he cover himself with his cloak to meet God who appears and speaks with him.
Most people look for God – or some sort of equivalent spiritual high – expecting Him to be found in the places where everyone commonly thinks He is. The masses hurl themselves along in life, following the crowd to the dramatic, overwhelming power of nature or to the man-made hoopla of the iPhone X, hoping and trusting that this is where they will find God or some sort of life-changing experience. If all believe it so, then it must be, and surely from the loud, noisy and obvious we will experience something that will be transformative and change our lives forever.
Not really because, as Elijah found out, that is not where you find God. Don’t run to the prevailing winds or to the powerful earthquakes or to the searing fires to seek Him. No, you will find Him in the still small voice; the quiet places on earth that are too subtle for most and that few regard. It is in these places that are usually overlooked and ignored where you will find the Creator of the Universe… and this is where you will most likely find yourself as well.
Foghorns blowing in the night
Salt sea air in the morning breeze…
This must be what it’s all about
Oh this must be what it’s all about
This must be what paradise is like
So quiet in here, so peaceful in here
So quiet in here, so peaceful in here