Today, I went for a walk around downtown Jerusalem for the first time in really a year.
I thought it was going to be so nice…. so amazing… so uplifting…. so fun.
I haven’t been for a walk like that around Jerusalem, without worrying about getting into arguments or fines for not wearing a mask outside, for literally a year.
The weather was perfect – sunny but not too hot.
I woke up early, popped off to the Kotel as part of my morning hitbodedut – which thank God is looking SO much free-er and almost normal – then decided to spend today window shopping in Jerusalem.
I walked down there.
Perfect weather, nice walk.
I walked into a few of my old favorite shops – that haven’t closed down – and even bought some art stuff and a couple of dresses.
Something is totally missing from the picture.
I waited a year to do that walk, that way, with no masks (outside…), no worrying about police, no glaring at strangers on the street, or being glared back at, no tensing for big arguments with poor, delusional psychos who can’t think for themselves.
But when I got it today, it felt strangely flat.
So flat, that I cut it short, and called up my daughter to come pick me up.
While I’m sitting by the side of the street, waiting for her to come, I call a good friend of mine.
She told me she’s feeling totally depleted, and also has no idea what her path is meant to be in the world.
Man, I can relate.
Last Thursday, I’d reached the end of my ‘carer of last resort’ rope, and was going nuts.
What does that mean, ‘carer of last resort’?
It means you are the person who washes up even when you don’t want to. Who cooks and grocery shops, even when you’ve had enough. Who hangs washing…. and more washing… and more washing…. even when the very last thing you want to do is hang up more washing.
But with Covid 1984 raging all year, and kids and husband underfoot way more than is normal or healthy, and non-stop demands on my time to keep on caring, even though my supply of ‘caring’ at an almost all-time low….
Last Thursday I just had to stop caring for a couple of days.
Baruch Hashem, God arranged for my kids to go out for Shabbat, so I could keep the food super basic, and spend a good chunk of time just talking to God.
Without worrying about the dishes in the sink, or the state of mind of my offspring, or sweeping the floor, or any of that stuff.
I could just BE, and talk to God.
It was just what I needed.
So, back to Jerusalem, and today.
I think my trip out showed me that even though so much in Israel appears to have returned to ‘normal’ – whatever that means – really?
It’s totally changed.
The ‘buzz’ I used to get off the gashmius has gone. I shopped because I needed clothes. I walked because I need the exercise. I bought meat because we need to eat.
But none of those things are enlivening me, the way they used to in the past.
My kids and their friends are also experiencing something similar, on their level.
Mahane Yehuda used to be a favorite past-time for them – they used to hang out there in the evening 3, 4 and even 5 nights a week.
They barely go once a week, and even, they aren’t really enjoying it very much and come home way earlier than they used to.
Ditto, with parties in the forest, and long days spent up north by some river.
It all sounds fun and amazing and just what you want to be doing.
But when you actually do it….
….it’s so flat.
Like you, I feel so up in the air at the moment.
I don’t know what any of this means any more.
I don’t know what God wants from me.
I’m trying to hang on to my prayers, my hitbodedut, my religious observance, my mitzvot, as much as possible.
I don’t feel miserable.
I just feel so flat, and one-dimensional.
But kind of happy in that mode, at the moment.
At least for now.
I guess, when God is ready, He’ll show me what He wants me to work on, to change, to do next.
But in the meantime, it’s the same message I got when I was stressed out of my head in Uman, for 3 weeks leading into Rosh Hashana 5781:
Just sit and BE.
For I am Hashem.
And Hashem has all this covered, one way or another.
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