5 Short Travel Stories from Israel/5 Strategies of Rath
1. Loving Choice – Prevent Bucket Dripping
Recently I let too many drips fall from my bucket and someone else’s bucket; and felt the effects for the rest of the day. I entered into a conversation with someone I love and respect but by the end of our chat on the phone (about religion, God, biblical texts) I realized that I needed to put Rath’s ideas into practice as I embarked on a trip to the Holy Land of Israel instead of only trying to prove that my ideas were more correct. Not too long after our conversation I realized that this is a great example of what Rath would call “bucket dripping.” From that point forward I determined to focus on filling up buckets for the rest of the week. I told my loved one I loved and respected him and we concluded the conversation with agreeing to disagree. I left for Israel and have been consciously practicing Rath’s philosophy throughout my journey.
2. ShalomSalam- Shine a Light on what is Right
I am writing this from the incredibly beautiful land of Israel. Yesterday we visited a village founded by Father Bruno Hussar called Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam, which means “Oasis of Peace.” This village has approximately 60 families, 1/2 Arab and 1/2 Jewish who live in community as an example of how Jews and Palestinians might realize peace with one another. Father Bruno was a Jewish man born in Egypt who converted to Christianity and became a Dominican priest. I visited his tomb and on the long cement slab which covers his tomb are the symbols of the cross and the Jewish Star of David. Also, written in Hebrew and Arabic is the scripture, “love your neighbor as yourself.” In Israel the neighborhoods and schools are typically segregated between Arabs and Jews so this village began the first integrated school for children in Israel. What a beautiful village! Father Bruno shined a light on what is right – peace between humans.
3. Bedouins & Bread – Make Best Friends
As I am writing this I am bouncing along in a bus on our way to the Negev desert where we will visit and enjoy music and lunch in the tents of the Azazme Bedouin tribe. According to one of our guides the Bedouins (meaning: men of the desert) believe the guest is God. Guests are angels in disguise, sent from God to test you. They are supposed to serve them for three nights and then the guests are supposed to leave. This seems like a great practice in order to preserve the relationship. My goal as we meet them, break bread with them (they will be baking fresh bread) and enjoy company is to make best friends today.
4. The Pomegranate Pendant – Give Unexpectedly
Yesterday at breakfast one of my fellow travelers told me about a beautiful pomegranate pendant that she saw in the Arab Shuk (market) of Jerusalem. She dreamed about it the night after she saw it and couldn’t stop thinking about it. However, after bartering with the seller she didn’t buy the jewelry. And now she is not sure she will be able to find it again in the winding streets of the shuk. She even felt guilty for so badly wanting it.That same evening after she told me about this pendant I went to a bookstore and a historical novel was placed in front of me by another traveler (he didn’t know anything about my friend’s desire for the pendant). I decided to purchase this used book for my friend who saw the pendant in the shuk. And I thought about Rath’s ideas as I did this. I wrote in the book and gave it to her this morning. And I told her that perhaps this is not about just purchasing a pendant but about someone she might meet along the way as she wandered the streets of the shuk to look for the pomegranate pendant. She was delighted and inspired.
5. Isabelle – Reverse the Golden Rule (Do unto them as they would have you do unto them)
On this Israel journey I was assigned a roommate name Isabelle. She is a mix of Sephardic Jew and Turkish. I have been trying to practice the “reverse golden rule” with her as we have journeyed together on this trip. But I must say it is difficult to keep up with her ability to practice this, as she has been putting this strategy into action from day one. I am still trying to catch up in giving back to her. She is generous with her food, kind with her words, accommodating, and even gave me a foot massage with lavender oils, as the hills of Jerusalem have given me aching muscles in my feet and legs. I will continue to strive to apply this concept towards Isabelle for the rest of this journey.
How Full is Your Bucket? author: Tom Rath