So I have started reading The Promise, another book by Chaim Potok and I am again calmed by the rhythmic simplicity of Rueven's father. Chaim writes, "I heard him sigh. 'Little children, little troubles, big children big troubles',he murmured in Yiddish. 'When my big Rueven is so quiet, there are big troubles. Can I be of help to you, Reuven?' He regarded me in silence for a moment through his steel-rimmed spectacles, his eyes heavy with fatigue. 'I do not mean to pry, Reuven', he said quietly. 'I want only to help if I can'. You are not prying abba. Since when do you pry? 'With a grown son a father never knows when he is prying. Can I be of help to you Rueven', he asked again."
And so I began to understand that the peace I feel when experiencing this father-son relationship is the mutual respect that flows between the two. Each gives the other a quiet place to rest their thoughts. It also occurs to me that a typical human being, myself included, first demands respect from others whether children or spouses or friends and that it almost never achieves this sort of flowing respect. In the end one must act respectful and others then freely give it. I appreciate the little lessons this book throws out; whispers that may not be caught unless the reader shines light on it's psalms. I suppose the lesson is this...Respect cannot be demanded.