Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This has been a very difficult day for me. Someone I care very deeply about has been in a lot of emotional pain, and there's nothing I can do but show support. And pray.

I'm not going to ulpan tomorrow. Friday is erev Yom Tov. We're only home for one meal but I need the time to clean the apartment and cook and RELAX. Toby just called to tell me her daughter had a baby boy. She got to be in the delivery room with her which she said was unusual for her because "I didn't even want to be in the delivery room when my own kids were born!" I don't think we can go to the bris since it's on Tuesday morning in Yerushalayim; we can't miss a day of ulpan. Thursdays are just review, but Sunday through Wednesday we learn a LOT of new material. Yesterday and part of today were about plural pronouns: atem (you - plural masculine), aten (you - plural feminine), hem (they - plural masculine), hen (they - plural feminine) and the verbs that match those, i.e., lomed (to learn - single, masculine), lomedet ( to learn - single, feminine), lomedim (to learn - plural masculine), lomedot (to learn - plural feminine). Are you confused yet? I'm kind of getting the hang of it, actually. We do a lot of repetition.

There's a woman who sits a couple seats over from us who's a real hoot. She's had a pretty difficult life, but she has a great sense of humor. Yesterday I heard her telling Ellen, who sits next to me, that when her kids were small, she would tell them they were going to the zoo and then take them to the pet store at the mall and let them pet the animals. They didn't know the difference. She'd also say, "We're going to Disneyland today!" and take them to the Disney store. Then she'd pull one of her own stuffed animals out of her backpack (she kept about 200 of them from when she was a kid) and "buy" it for her kids as a souvenir. She didn't have much money back then. When they'd get home and tell their dad they'd been to the zoo or Disneyland, he'd look at her and say, 'You've been to the mall again?" Apparently her kids don't hold it against her; now that they're teenagers they have too many other things to be angry about.

So today we had a Rosh Hashanah party with all the ulpan classes. Being the greenest kids on the block, we got to hold up signs that had new year's brachot; mine read kativa v'chatima tova. Others were shnat shalom (yes, that really is snot with an h - it's the plural form of shana), simcha hatzlacha, etc. We stood in a row on the stage and each read what our card said. Then the people in the other classes got up one by one and gave extremely long dissertations on subjects that must have been interesting because everybody else was oohing and aahing, and we kindergarteners (nursery schoolers?) sat there feeling silly and dumb and bored because we couldn't understand a thing. Then they passed out cups of wine and we toasted the new year and got to leave an hour early, which didn't really lessen our embarrassment, but made it a little less painful.

Life is strange, isn't it? We go from one stage of life to another, and nobody is in the same "place" at the same time. Once in awhile you find someone or some people who understand you or who you understand, and it feels good to be on the same page. And you think back to other times in your life when you had to deal with certain challenges and you either wish you could do it over again or you're pretty satisfied with how you handled yourself and how things turned out. But when you see someone else going through their challenges, especially people you really care about, you feel your own pain all over again. Especially when there's nothing you can do for them because it's their test and they have to make all the choices and figure out all the options. And even if you think you have the right answers for them, you can't really make their decisions for them because you're not in their shoes and you don't know the relationship they have with Hashem and what He's trying to teach or show them. It's between Him and them and you have to sit on your hands and zip up your mouth and just be there when they need you. And that's when you realize it's a lesson for you, too. It just hurts so much to feel their pain.

Hashem, isn't there any way to have "do-overs"? To re-make history so the present is just a little different? Please?

No comments: