Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Confusion, Anger, & Time

Aside from the anniversary of my brother's death, I think the High Holidays are the hardest time of year for me.

I want so badly to make sense of what happened. I don’t know how I can process things otherwise.

So here's how my making sense of this goes.

I believe that God is at His heart benevolent. In that case, there must be some reason for all of this to happen. Something we did to deserve this. And that guilt is heavy.

But how could we possibly have done something so terrible as to deserve this? I know me, and I know my family. Eytan's death was NOT our fault. We don't have to accept that guilt. We are not to blame.

Then who or what is?

If I believe God or some higher power oversees the world, then God must be the cause in some way, and if He's the cause then He is a malevolent God, even though in my heart I know that's not true.

Or there is no sense to the world, no God, no order, things just happen.

But I believe there IS logic and order to the world. I don't believe things just happen.

So if God is benevolent and I believe there is order in this world, then there must be a reason for this...

I'm caught in this circular argument with myself.

I couldn't bring myself to speak to God over Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). I didn't set foot in shul (synagogue). I couldn't. I'm so angry, I don't have anything but anger for Him. I think (hope) He understands.

Everything was so much easier before I understood how fleeting life is. How temporal we all are. Our vulnerabilities, our limits, our mortality. How we don't know what we've got until suddenly it's gone forever and we are left wondering why we wasted so much time. I wasted so much time that I could have spent with Eytan. And now there isn't any time left.

I feel like his death has since passed me by but the wake of his death is still churning and I'm caught in it, just treading water, gasping for air. I can't extricate myself because even though Eytan's death is behind me I'm still so caught up in the aftermath. Just when I think I've moved forward I find myself right back in those churning waters. That place where it hurts as much as it did the day my Dad called me with the news, the day we laid my brother in the ground.

How do you look forward to a new year when you feel stuck in the past, and all you can think about is rewinding time?

Monday, September 10, 2012

On Judgement

According to Jewish tradition, every year God weighs our merits and our transgressions, and our fate for life or death is written on Rosh HaShana and sealed on Yom Kippur.

What does it mean to be judged? What merits and transgressions weigh more heavily than others?

I used to think that living a life where I give more than I take and I try to make the world a better place meant that I was living righteously, and that I would surely be written for life. Now, I just don't know. How do we know if we're living in a way that our merits will outweigh our transgressions?

My brother wasn't perfect, but he was a kind, funny, loving, and wonderful person. He lived life righteously. How could God have sealed his fate for death?

I don't understand. I don't know how to understand.

What I wouldn't give for just one more day with him.