I like to run, but not a lot. Enough to release stress, hang out with friends, and sort through life’s challenges. By the end of my runs, life seems better. More manageable. This year my running plan is to finish my book. That will be my marathon. And . . . it will be . . . a marathon. My finish line is set for October 28, my birthday. Throughout the year I will blog “sneak peaks” into my writing.
Starting right now.
My book explores the word dignity. To begin here, with this word, I want to share a paragraph from a another book written by my writing coach, David Hazard. His bestselling book, Blood Brothers, was published in 1984 with much controversy, as it presented a Palestinian perspective on the ongoing conflict in Israel. It is now translated into 29 languages. David writes the story of Elias Chacour, a Palestinian-Arab-Christian-Israeli. Archbishop Chacour exudes a deep love for both Jews and Palestinians and has dedicated his life to promote peace between these divided people. In fact, he has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I don’t profess to be an expert or understand even a fraction of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. This is what I do profess. The turmoil is deeply rooted, multifaceted, and spans generations. And the turmoil has seriously affected people. Living, breathing people like you and me.
This morning I journaled, “I am grateful for a life in a country of opportunities.” If I choose to better myself, I can. Because I live in America. I have traveled enough to know this to be true. If you have not traveled outside this country, I encourage you to put that at the top of your bucket list. And I don’t mean sign up for a cruise where you disembark for a day to consume umbrella drinks with other tourists. I mean, visit another country. Engage in its culture. Walk in someone else’s shoes. Blood Brothers helped me see the complexity of the issues in Israel. And it left me with this word: dignity.
What does this word mean? I mean, what does it really mean? In everyday life? Out in our world? Within you and me?
Elias Chacour says this, in chapter nine of Blood Brothers, about dignity:
“Suddenly I knew that the first step toward reconciling Jew and Palestinian was the restoration of human dignity. Justice and righteousness were what I had been hungry and thirsty for: This was the third choice that ran like a straight path between violent opposition and calcified, passive nonresistance. If I were really committing my life to carry God’s message to my people, I would have to lift up, as Jesus had, the men and women who had been degraded and beaten down. Only by regaining their shattered human dignity could they begin to be reconciled to the Israeli people, whom they saw as their enemies. This, I knew at once, went beyond all claims of land and rightful ownership; it was the true beginning.”
This word, dignity, is at my book’s core. To be finished October 28.
Thoughts about dignity? About Elias Chacour? About your core?
For more information about Elias Chacour, check out these videos:
Building Peace on Desktops (12 minutes)
A Man of Galilee (23 minutes)