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?

1 comment:

  1. Rella,
    Even as I write this, I know that I have no answer to your question. In truth, it was a struggle for me to go to shul this year. The only reason I went is because Naomi went and bought tickets for me because I wasn’t willing to buy them for myself.
    I would be lying if I didn’t often feel the same way that you do. I think that I am better, that I have gotten over the worst of it, and then something comes up that reminds me of Eytan and I got melancholy. There are times that unbidden, that call from your father comes unbidden into my mind and no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of the image. It’s at times like that where I question the validity of God, of whether he even exists or if he does, how could he be good if he allowed such things to happen. I’m constantly on the fence about the idea of the malevolent God strereotype, and have come to the realization that I don’t honestly know what I believe in terms of God anymore. But, I would like to believe that God is not malevolent, that God is, in fact, good and not detached from our world.
    I would be the first to admit that I do not know how to superimpose that image of God over the things I have seen in life. I did have one thought though, one shred of comfort that I clung onto while I was at Shul. Eytan was always trying to get me to broaden my horizons and look beyond the skinny and narrow path that I set for myself. He did this in life, pushing my belief systems and challenging my presumptions. His death though, ironically, proved to be the most powerful tool in his arsenal. I was forced to change, forced to confront everything that I believed and held true. In short, I learned, if at a terrible cost. It does not even the score nor make me less mad or even slightly forgiving. But his death forced me out of the bubble I had wrapped around myself, perhaps for the first time really forcing me to confront the world in all of its tumult. I now am active in communities and organizations that I never would have joined prior to Eytans death and in truth, I am enriched by my choice to learn as are those who teach me.
    I always wish that I could rewind the clock, especially when I’m feeling particularly alone or angry. I constantly dream that instead of just dropping off the books on that fateful day at the door, I had knocked more to find out why Eytan wasn’t answering. I think that it’s impossible not to feel that way, despite my knowledge that at his core, Eytan was a master at hiding himself and I couldn’t have known what was going on.
    Nothing I say or do can change the anger I feel or the questions that were raised because of his death. I will always probably be a cynic, constantly questioning. But, as someone wise once told me, time heals and in some cases, it takes a really long time. I hope that you continue to heal as well and that someday, the anger and pain will fade into the background and the good man who Eytan was will be that which remains.
    Thank you for writing this, as every once in a while, I need to talk about this and as I really don’t like such conversations, this is perhaps the best way I know to share my thoughts.