From my notebooks

In the mid-1980’s, I started reading again. And if I wanted to remember a passage or comment on something, I’d highlight or write in the margins. Until 1995, when I read C. S. Lewis’s The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature and moved off the page and into a 3-ring notebook.

I often say it would be nice if my brain could remember everything I’ve ever read. Since that won’t be happening anytime soon, I figure the closest thing would be to reread the notes I’ve taken over the years. And, voila, a new blog feature was born. Every so often, I’ll post something I’ve reread.

Today’s entry comes from my first notebook and is a passage from Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle:

My son-in-law, Alan Jones, told me a story of a Hassidic rabbi, renowned for his piety. He was unexpectedly confronted one day by one of his devoted youthful disciples. In a burst of feeling, the young disciple exclaimed, “My master, I love you!”

The ancient teacher looked up from his books and asked his fervent disciple, “Do you know what hurts me, my son?”

The young man was puzzled. Composing himself, he stuttered, “I don’t understand your question, Rabbi. I am trying to tell you how much you mean to me, and you confuse me with irrelevant questions.”

“My question is neither confusing nor irrelevant,” rejoined the rabbi, “For if you do not know what hurts me, how can you truly love me?”


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