I know a lot.
I don’t particularly golf. (I can, but haven’t played even nine holes in years.)
Yet I know all about Tiger. His work ethic. His recent surgery. His late father. His charitable foundation. His beautiful smile. His beautiful wife. His beautiful Nike contract. His achievement, winning so many major tournaments. The way he comes back, often from far behind, and inevitably wins. And, of course, his magnificent stroke.
Why do I know so much about Tiger?
Because I study Tiger.
I never wake up in the morning and see "Study Tiger" on my calendar. However, by the end of the day, I’m never surprised to know one more thing about Tiger Woods.
I study Tiger because we all study Tiger. As a nation, we’ve decided to put news of Tiger in the sports page and beyond. Not every day. But hardly a week goes by without some Tiger Report. Don’t you study Tiger, too?
Happily, Tiger is a good guy, as far as I know. And studying him is inspiring. No harm done.
But Who Else Should We Study?
We study athletes and celebrities. When we do, we are often studying people who do things we could never do. Or, in cases of unfortunate behavior, things we would never choose to do.
So why limit ourselves to athletes and celebrities? Why don’t we decide to study creative people?
Perhaps you are a reader of biography. You are probably already a student of creative people. If you don’t have time for biographies, here’s the best book I’ve ever read of obituaries. (That quick enough for you?)
Let’s take a moment to pick a creative person to study. What makes this creator so productive? What is the motivation? What is the training? What is the work ethic? What are the creations?
A highlight of this summer has been a trip to Fallingwater. This is the home, built in 1938 by Frank Lloyd Wright, into the side of a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania.
I’ll spare you any details. It’s been well photographed and described.
Going there and seeing it, however, is the only way to understand how magnificent it is. And how magnificent the creator’s vision and determination.
It’s easy enough to get there. (Here’s a map.)
How is Fallingwater like Israel?
(Egad, must everything be like Israel?)
Until I went there, Fallingwater was, among all the homes I had never been to, the one that I knew the most about.
Or, at least, I thought I knew. I knew some facts and had an image in mind. But going offered a glimpse at understanding. Of course, there is still plenty I don’t understand about Wright’s engineering, design and artistic soul. Sometimes, you just have to get in the car and go.
Israel is like that.
Until I went there, Israel was, among all the countries that I had never been to, the one I know the most about. Probably this is true for you: you’ve read 3,500 year old stories and yesterday’s news. You know a lot about Israel. Probably more than any country you’ve never visited.
Seeing is understanding. Anything else is just relying on other people’s stories and little photographs.
If you want directions to Israel, here you go. Like Fallingwater, it’s easy enough to get there.