Time moves differently these days.
Most of the time I feel like I’m racing it.
Other times, it’s suspended – like a half-moon hanging in an open sky.
For the last 24 hours or so, I was, as my Pop would say, “kickin’ a$$ and takin’ names.”
I was busy.
Had my thinking cap on.
I had found an outer sliver of the tsunami to ride.
I got hyper-focused on the things within my control and approached big chunks of time with clarity of purpose and efficiency.
When a friend of mine asked me how I was mid-morning today, I answered:
“Feeling a little hypomanic, but not in a clinical way. More like an overly caffeinated, quick let’s get tons of stuff done before the rockets start flying kind of way. But, good.”
Then, mid-day, I invited Shishi (our youngest) to sit and watch a short video clip someone we know and love had just sent.
The first few minutes were a moving clip of beautiful Israeli children in a recording studio singing “Stand By Me,” produced in a “We are the World” style.
I was not prepared for the images that appeared on screen toward the end of the song…
Still shots, one after the next, of beautiful, happy, healthy, normal, shining, bright, precious, clearly loved and adored babies and children. All who were abducted from their homes at gunpoint by Hamas terrorists on October 7th. All of whose fates are still unknown. I hadn’t allowed myself to study the faces of the littles or learn their names until now.
In the thickness of that moment, all the busy-ness, the hustle, the “look at me expanding my vessel, learning how to integrate this” bull-honkey, slipped away from me like an open palm full of sand when a wave hits. It took all of my strength to keep myself from quite literally dropping to the floor and lying in fetal position. I tried to pause it, unwind the seeing, but it was too late.
Shishi asked, “Mama, who are they?”
“These are the children that were taken from their homes by Hamas and taken into Gaza.”
“Yes, also some babies.”
“What are they doing with them there?”
Deep breath. Eye contact.
“We are praying that they are taking care of them there.”
I called my mom a bit later to share where I was at, and to help me process.
As always, she held the space I needed her to hold while I moved through it.
At one point, she asked me if I wanted to get away a bit, to come to the States and unwind some.
No, Mama. I can’t. I won’t. But thank you.
Then I read her this poem that my friend Chaya Lester wrote. I’ll sign off with her words.
If I should die
I want them to say I died on the front lines
Of the fight of Good against Evil.
That I spent my days knee-deep in human decency
Deciphering the moral dilemma
of when to act with compassion
And when to act with judgment
And that I have held the proper balance between.
I want them to say that
though the world did not understand it
I held strong anyway
To a higher moral code
That I upheld the Torah even though
It was often hard as nails
And hailed travails
And cost me my very life.
That I was willing to die
This troubled world
That I worked-in-accord-with-the-word-of-the-Lord
With ancient wisdom
The promise of Prophets
The teachings of Elders
And the calling of my very soul.
That I howled
A Kaddish with my bones
And it was an honor and a joy
To call this Land my Home.