I am lost.
I am sad.
I am angry and confused.
I watch the news and it sinks me. It is dark and grim. I am lost, knowing that I need to stay positive and connected to Hashem… to have hope… I struggle. I struggle. I cannot go to Shul on Friday nights and bond with my group of guys, or pound on the pulpit, and sing and dance. Yes, I can do this on my own, but… I pray. I pray.
I see the number of dead climbing… I see life, the normal sadness of life, get either obstructed in all of this mess, or heightened. People who die of natural causes, or even of this disease, are lost in the midst of this crisis. Some cannot be buried with family and friends, or even pass with family and friends by their side.
I am afraid for my parents in New Jersey. I am afraid for my brother and sister-in-law, who live in Jersey but worked in the city. I am afraid for my nieces.
I am grateful that may daughter is safe and home from NYU and NYC, but ache for her loss of school and separation from her new boyfriend. I am grateful for my ex and the dinners we are sharing.
But I am sad. There is a general sadness that pervades my thoughts, my body… and yes, it is trying to move into my very soul. I fight it. As best I can, I fight it.
Life was so tricky before all of this, and now everything is even more intense, more heightened, and more uncertain. If you were already on edge, like I was, this makes things even worse. Pre-existing problems have become worse, life threatening… and “pre-existing problems” have become better… We can now more fully comprehend what is truly important in life, and we have realized all too quickly that we are really and truly NOT IN CHARGE. That life can change in an instant. Online groups via Zoom have been my savior, as have been my regular Tanya and Pirkei Avos classes. They are giving me things to hold on to and to deal with the uncertainty, but that too can be overwhelming. Breathe. Breathe.
I know what I should be doing, and the wisdom is powerful, and while it grabs hold of me, it too often and too quickly slips away, leaving my hands empty and my brain full of chatter.
There is much talk of this being the time of Moshiach, but what if that time does not come? I have so many questions, so many thoughts, so many things I want and need to know… and yet, I must embrace the unknown and know fully who is in charge. And if we sat that Moshiach is now, but it’s not, what does all of that mean?
I don’t know… but here are some valuable lessons helping me cope. Self-Care, Self-Love And The Steps We Need:
Breathe… Breathe. Get up each morning with Modeh Ani. Wrap Tefillin and pray, pray with every ounce of your being. Pray for yourself, your family and friends, and yes, the world. Do what you can to help. Tikkun Olam means more now than ever. And end your day/night with the Bedtime Shema. Go to bed and wake up every single day with humility and gratitude.
We must move from fear to fact. We must erase the lines that divide us, as we stand in lines at a store.
Do Mitzvahs, declare “Hineni” or “Here I Am,” and truly be there to help… but help yourself first… remember the “Oxygen Mask Analogy.” You put your mask on first, otherwise you are useless to others.
Remember the lessons you are learning from Rabbis and Friends:
From Howard Witkin: “This is not an interruption to your life, this IS your life.”
“Wealth is not what we have, it is what we think about the things we have.”
From Rabbi Avi Rabin: “Never underestimate the power of a Mitzvah.”
“We live in a world of Darkness but we must BRING THE LIGHT. G-d is giving us a chance to live a life with purpose and meaning.”
From Rabbi Doniel Katz:
“When the external crashes, we move to the internal… this is a global meditation retreat.”
“Everything good, everything incredible, everything holy is born in darkness. Egypt was called the womb and the Jewish people came out of Egypt.”
From Rabbi Shlomo Seidenfeld:
“We suffer when we believe that there is no purpose to our pain.”
“Matter is never destroyed, it is just reconfigured. And this goes for momentum. So what are we going to do when we leave the shelter?”
Many things to think about… and far better than the other things to think about. May we all be happy and healthy and safe. May we all be calm and secure and find peace and serenity. Amen.