Shining a light on the BIG questions of life

A book of short stories about life, love, God and responsibility.

Shining a light on the BIG questions of life

Short Stories for BIG Questions by Joel Levin is a collection of parables about everyday situations and commonly asked questions about life, about God, religion, humanity, responsibility and much more. Joel has a beautiful way of describing life, how it can affect us and the learning that is always on offer.

He unravels in a simple and comprehensive way the many roadblocks we call normal and apply to get through life and how underneath the everyday conundrums and ingrained ways there is always the real you, the sensitive you, the you without the many protective layers on top.

We do everything to hide and encase this sensitive real us in an attempt to be less affected by the seeming harshness and cruelty of the world. But then Joel demonstrates that this sensitive real us is the one with the strength and the power. He unravels beautifully and lays gently and so naturally in front of us how simple and true life can be by allowing us to be the sensitive real us that we are.

This book is a joy and easy to read but makes you stop in your tracks as the author takes you deeper and exposes what we think of as normal and cast in stone … there is always more to ponder, question and realise.

Some stories may be a little challenging, as we are confronted with questions we have all asked but might have chosen to put on the shelf, if not avoid altogether. The realisations are not always comfortable, but they ring true, like it or not. These parables show the folly of looking outside ourselves for answers to the BIG Questions, when they are in truth already there, within us.

Under the heading of ‘On God and Religion’, there are several amusing stories showing up our religious beliefs, such as expecting to be saved by God or by Jesus. One is God’s Waiting Room, where many people wait interminably for God to invite them to join him, even though they can see others walk in and out through the door without asking for permission. When the narrator eventually gets up and walks through the door, they are greeted by the words “I’ve been waiting for you”. In other words, it is up to us to take responsibility for ourselves, look at our behaviours and be willing to make changes.

In another parable Joel shares examples of what God might want for Christmas. A list of long-held beliefs, from fear of His might and fury, walking around in guilt and repentance to being subservient to His will as well as exclusivity and prestige were suggested but, in the end, ‘we are the same love He is’ and all that is needed is living this love.

The story of the lighthouse is an example of how important it is for us to live the light that is within us to help light the way for others. It highlights appreciation and how indispensable we all are to each other as a one humanity. If we dim our light with doubts of ourselves, of whether we are good enough etc., then, as in the case of the lighthouse, we are not showing others the light that we all in truth are.

Using a simple anecdotal style of writing, the important messages are easily conveyed in the short stories as delivered by Joel. He shows the inadvertent effects and demands we put on each other in our everyday lives and the harm that we do to each other in the way that we harbour emotions, use hurtful words or put another down.

And how we play games with ourselves and others, all to feel lesser, unworthy or defective or to triumph and put ourselves above others. These stories exemplify that it is always our choice how to live our life and that we can take responsibility for the consequences of our actions or inactions, whatever the case may be.

This book is beautifully illustrated by Sara Harris whose drawings add depth and joy to these stories and what they offer by way of reflection and inspiration.

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GodLoveRelationshipsReligion