I struggle to even recall what has been happening over the past few months. Events took place so quickly that it’s been all a blur. I haven’t had time to write, not even a line; hardly had time to think and certainly have been unable to combine the two in an attempt to produce something of a substantial value.
The farewells are over. The “Beersheva period” is over. The “ITF period” is over as well as many other things that I have grown accustomed to over the period of ten months. The structure, very much needed in life, which I appreciated and welcomed has been dramatically changed and I find myself, again, with new people and in a new place. Each day brings new challenges and just as I thought I managed to deal with one thing, another challenge springs out of nowhere demanding my attention, and, interestingly, these are not the challenges that I have a pre-developed pattern for. I didn’t expect also to face certain people again and yet, surprise, I did.
On the positive note, however, as uneasy as I may feel about the change, I have had a wonderful time in Beersheva and going there for Shabbat now feels like returning home. The quietness and peacefulness of the place combined with murderous heat is what certainly calms my nerves. The desert, I believe, is the best place to clear one’s head.
As of the beginning of this month I am officially a student of the Institute of Jewish Studies for Women – Mayanot in Jerusalem. It’s been a rocky road, demanding and exciting, today particularly slightly unsettling, primarily, I think, due to the fast. I am always cranky when I haven’t eaten and the key is not to dwell on issues that I haven’t yet sorted or are bothering me, otherwise I am more than likely to create an argument like from here to Tokyo, telling everyone off and refusing to take prisoners. Uncompromising and hard learning at the seminary definitely helps, but dismantling Gomorrah on the day like this and trying to make sense of Aramaic is exhausting and rocks my uneven mood even more. Going on a trip when my tummy is rumbling is also out of the equation. A quiet chat with a friend would be ideal, but then it takes me a long time to call someone a friend and those that I call friends are not here, and so, I write again.
Generally the studies are perfect. The routine and demands of time and material keep me occupied and divert my thoughts from things that are outside my control. Jerusalem has an amazing weather and more than hundreds of historical places that beg to be visited. Realistically every road I turn into has something to show and a story to tell. Living in the seminary is also a new experience, even though I previously shared a room with people.
Still, it doesn’t help that, as much as I don’t mind listening to people when they have problems which bother them, I feel like am dealing to everyone else’s problems, thoughts, ups and downs (mostly downs) and I hardly attend to those that are my own. Though I understand that people need a sympathetic ear to tell their secrets to, I feel like I want to run, curl up next to my mother and not think for a day or two, just let her pamper me, which she would gladly do without even raising her eyebrow. I miss grandma. I miss her cooking. I miss the running television, even though I never watched it. I miss when she force-fed me. I miss doing errands for her.
There are moments in life, I think, that though we are surrounded by dozens of people, we feel loneliest. There is no person that can fill the void which we can palpate and usually there are two ways in which people deal with this sense of emptiness. They either run towards people and try and drain the energy from the group, or they lock themselves up and try and figure out why they feel the way they do. I am certainly the latter case and hence the rambling. I have just spoken to an acquaintance of mine who is currently living in Brazil and following reading “Our lying faces” he felt the need to share what was on his heart. Many words were said, but only one sentence was needed to summarise the avalanche of the combination of letters and punctuation marks: “It feels lonely down here, you know”.
I will never forget the words of the old Jamaican lady, who spoke with Brad Pitt in “Meet Joe Black”. He was more than happy to be around people, in contrary to his previous state of complete loneliness. He enjoyed loving and being loved; he enjoyed the companionship and he didn’t want to leave the world which he had entered with a view to explore the jungle of human emotions. “But don’t be fooled”, she warned him, “we are mostly lonely here too”. There is something about each of our journeys being made alone. There is only as much as we can enjoy someone’s company. At some point we realise that there are places that only we can enter and we cannot pull anyone with us. This is both terrifying and beautiful.
Terrifying, because the feeling that we dread most is going to be the reoccurring one. As long as we enjoy solitude, every second is meaningful and thrilling. However, the moment we experience loss, we feel lonely and we are afraid that this feeling will never leave us. Nevertheless, each of our individual journeys is both horizon-widening and structure-crushing, knowing that everything we encounter on our way, is for us to grasp and for us to enjoy. With every step we both lose and find ourselves. No one can tell us how we should see things; rather we are certain that our story is what we will carry with us along the way. Our perception of reality is what matters and we can create and recreate our lives and there should be no fear in that. After all, we only cry after our comfort zone, our comfort-cushion, thus potentially high-jacking the things that we not only want, but also need for further development. Hence, I would argue, that it is crucial for us to fell uncomfortable for a moment, to feel slightly pressured and consequently make a step forward beyond our fears and reach towards the next stage in our lives.
The fear of loss and consequently loneliness is what makes us halt and forsake the exploration. We do not like losing, leaving, forsaking, abandoning, changing… and thus at the moment when we feel that emptiness, we do not feel the joy of the blank page that is waiting for us to write down our story. We stop and we weep, not knowing what we are weeping for. We lost something. It’s just, we don’t know what it was, but it must have been dear to us. Still once that space is empty, once the page is blank, we still have our words and experiences to fill the pages with new and amazing tales, not better or worse from those we left behind, but those that greet us and offer us new opportunities and all that they require is for us to step forward beyond what we know.
One thing ends, another begins… the magic is found beyond the horizon.