Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

January 20, 2012

Exclamation Points – On Paper and On Roads

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Life's Toolbox @ 1:56 pm
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I am no stranger to exclamation points. My highly expressive mom sprinkles them liberally in her emails and letters. I was surprised, however, to see them yesterday – a stark black line at attention, with a bold dot below, bordered with a triangle of red. At times they were alone, others accompanied by a similarly bold graphic of hairpin turns and slippery roads. We were on a drive to a hike that our good friend and professional tour guide recommended, but warned the road in was “terrifying”. Luckily he reminded us to breathe, and we did, passing golden cliffs and overlooking the crystal blue dead sea rimmed in white salt beaches.

Exclamation points are used for emphasis. My mother, writing about a recent visit from one of our sons and his wife “emphasized” what lovely young people they are, and how caring, considerate and warm a couple they are. You could hear the exclamation point in my father’s description of the visit.  The grandparents proudly exhibited the new couple at their complex, and gave us great pride sharing the impression they made. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, we visited cousins along with our other son and his wife. We got such satisfaction watching how beautifully they related to these cousins, how well-mannered and generous they were, helping in the kitchen and with the children, and exuding warmth and comfort. Our hosts, quite taken with this lovely couple, spoke with enthusiasm – the verbal version of the exclamation point – about how wonderfully they have been raised, and their caring manners. Last, and certainly not least, we have been visiting with our youngest son. He met us at the airport, carried our bags, literally held my hand through the steep passages on a beautiful hike, and helps us and others in so many ways. He is so committed to his studies and other projects that he seems in his intensity to be, at times, a living exclamation point.

Visiting Israel, driving through such varied landscapes and hearing regularly quite varied opinions loudly expressed this seems a land and a time of exclamation points. Wow! Aren’t those mountains green? Isn’t that valley lush? That turquoise bird is exquisite! Those ruins are so ancient and yet so vivid in their portrayal of a life long gone. We feel so blessed to be here. So blessed to have had the strength and courage to undertake the drive up a “terrifying” road, marked with exclamation point signs, to reach a plateau that opened onto rocky reddened desert on one side and blazing blue sea on the other.  So blessed to open ourselves to people and places that are truly awe- inspiring.

We are about to begin the Sabbath in Jerusalem. We will walk to the Old City and pray at the Western Wall. As is tradition, I will put a small paper with my personal prayers in the cracks between the stones. My words, I hope, will reflect the myriad of blessings in my life, and with a spiritual exclamation point, ask that I be granted more of the same!!!!

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