Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

When Love is More Important Than Being Right

Being Right, yes with a capital “R”, the kind of rightness on which we would be willing to stake our lives, is a funny thing – so tempting, so exciting, so good, and so often deadly. When our sense of being right is complete or absolute, which is often the way we think of being really right, especially in matters of faith, look out!
It often leads us to feeling good about going to war, blowing people up, oppressing those who are different from ourselves. Why? “Because we are right.” And that’s often followed up with “I know I am right, because God said so”.
April is National Poetry Month, which reminded me of a poem by departed Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai.


Although Amichai is dead, his name translates into, Judea (or a Jew), my people lives. And his poem, The Place Where We Are Right, offers profound insight about how we can find success by balancing our yearning to be right with some modesty in how we go about being right. Here’s how it goes:
From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the spring.
The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.
But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.

So many times, we feel we are faced with being certain vs. living with doubt — with being correct or with being loving. I know which choices I tend to make, how about you?

  • jestrfyl

    This is an awesome poem. It may find its place in one of my Holy Week services. Thank you.

  • Robert

    Given your sincere Orthodoxy, I am all the more favorably impressed by the insights you share here. Thank you!

  • Bob

    To be truly loving is always Right with a capital R.
    But too many people believe that to be “loving” means to destroy all boundaries and put an end to all chastisement, when in reality, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is enforce boundaries and offer correction.

  • Your Name

    I agree with you Bob,i strongly believe in boundaries and offering
    correction is love for the other person.No doubt about it!I can relate
    to that or to anything or everything,name it,i am as open minded as
    you can imagine.Sometimes,we tend to go futher for the purpose
    of discovering,learning and understanding what the other has set limit
    upon.After learning each one’s boundaries,it is where deeper relationship will surface,respect is imposed towards each other.
    I often appreciate a person who corrects me,but never miss the details
    of me,i believe that he is loving me correctly or rightly,the kind of love that is balanced.I refuse to compromise each limits or
    boundaries,this is wrong and may ruin the relationship later if not sooner.Boundaries and correction means love preservation.All great
    lovers started as being strangers first to each other,but by careful
    way of giving and receiving love from each other,i bet right love is
    shared.This is the kind of love that will lasts!

  • Your Name

    Additionally Bob,if your love to the person has gone stronger,FORGIVENESS to his shortcomings should be cheerfully
    given.This way,i would conclude that to be forgiving is very
    essential in a relationship,just ask yourself all the time
    how much love can you give or offer.That is also the meassure
    of love you will receive.Bob,there is also the so called
    right love ,wrong time kind of love situation,in this case,i
    believe that lovers will find their way to discover their worth
    to each other,if the weight is the same or balance,that means it
    is the Right kind of love,i believe Love will see them through taking
    God’s judgement standards,He favors Righteous people than Good ones.
    I am confident of this fact,bacause the Bible says so.

  • maria cbv

    Being RIGHT means also RESPECTING THE RIGHT OF OTHERS.It is as basic,fundamental,universal sense of everything.If it is RIGHT to blow,kill someone because it feels right because your God says so.what kind of GOD do we believe in?I lost my husband in a horrendous way,literally i was in the line of fire.When that feeling of fraction of a second he was alive,& next thing you were trying to revive him,let alone you see the gun man fleeing with the gun still pointed @ you.As a personal note,when i tended my husband,i prayed with him,surprisingly as i recall now I told him to forgive whoever had planned his death & find peace in the spiritual world.Honestly being human,I have to go thru the phase of grieving i.e Anger.I wished to God i could have killed anybody that i know who planned his death.As hatred & bitterness is consuming if I did it,WOULD IT BRING MY HUSBAND BACK TO LIFE?Would I create chaos to leave another family lost their father as my kids?YES,my right has been trumpled upon leaving my kids fatherless,the town who just elected him the 3rd time as a the town Mayor is left fatherless too.does the perpetrator felt right to kill my husband?I leave to my God the unanswered Questions.As I navigate this life,my hope is,to see that righteousness should be tempered with respect,love to others,& feel compassion to those who cant comprehend that GOD EQUALLY LOVES US.

  • mom, wife, grandma

    R, for RIGHT. HMmmmmm!!
    At what price, being RIGHT!??
    When we think, or are sure WE are Right, or I AM right, we then infer that the other/YOU are wrong.
    This affects our relationships with spouses and children. When we truly LOVE our children and our spouse(s) we allow them the space and freedom to grow and/or be wrong! And what does ‘wrong’ mean anyway? Wrong in our eyes. There is no absolute. When we allow boundaries to develop, that is loving too, so that the other person can grow and discover and find their own ‘right,’ not THE RIGHT we have imposed. I’ve enjoyed reading Rabbi Brad Hirschfield’s book so much – religious wisdom, personal wisdom, practical wisdom – for relationships with people in our own families and with those with whom we share this awesome planet, who may be somewhat different from us and who think THEY are RIGHT. Rabbi Hirschfield gives practical solutions and examples of the ofttimes mouthed, but not practiced theory, of “live and let live.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pgh reader

    Excellent insights and poem; this was thought provoking.

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