Lately the writing has been harder to come by, the words seem stilted and stifled, my ability to express myself is limited. Thoughts, so many thoughts about so many things floating in my head, waves of emotion, of crazed feelings of frustration are rolling in and over me.
It is nothing new, I know this side of me. I am intimately acquainted with the part of me that wants to run howling underneath a full moon. I am perfectly sane and in complete control of my faculties, but I want to just let go and scream. I really can picture myself running through a forest, the moon lighting my way, panting like a wolf in search of prey. I am running because the charge I feel now will not let me sit still.
I am 240 pounds of 5 year-old, a boy trapped in a man’s body. The choices we make are the choices we make and we cannot rewind our lives to change them, no matter how badly we wish to. In truth there are few things that I would change and I’ll not share them now or list them here. Life is what it is and I accept that, no matter how irksome it may feel.
In 1998 I buried a friend, a very dear friend. And I do mean that I buried him. I gave one of the eulogies and I was a pallbearer. And then when it came time to shovel dirt and seal the grave I refused to let him be buried by people who didn’t know him, who didn’t love him and treasure his friendship. Together with a few others we shoveled and piled the dirt on his grave. It was a gift and it was cathartic.
I couldn’t stop the cancer from killing him. I couldn’t prevent the tumors from ravaging his body and taking his mind, but I did what little I could to help provide a quality of life for him and to provide some peace of mind for his family.
And I learned from the experience. I may be frustrated at some things that are happening, I may be angry or frightened, but I am alive. I live and I still walk the earth, my time here is not yet done and that means that although I may not be able to rewind my life, I can continue to make choices as to how I live.
Some of those choices may be better or smarter than others, but I will live with them because that is the lesson of his death. Life is meant to be lived, no matter how frustrating it may be.
Still, in the midst of my frustration old habits creep back in. I find myself lost in daydreams. I am walking through Jerusalem. If I close my eyes I can hear the sounds of the city and smell the scents that permeate it’s boundaries. I am on Jaffa, no I am at the corner of Ben Baba and Agnon. I am on the number 4 bus or I am wandering through the Shuk. Maybe I am at the Kotel, just overwhelmed with the feeling I have davening kabalat Shabbat. It doesn’t matter, Jerusalem calls, siren like and it takes effort not to get on a plane and return home.
I live and others do not. Can you feel the power and the force of those words. It is just a short time ago that the Earth shrugged and the ocean took the lives of untold thousands, a generation was lost, villages were wiped out, a liquid Pompeii but without anything but our memories to preserve it.
I live and others do not. Boys who play soldier in Iraq and elsewhere. Children who just don’t make it because of dumb luck. It doesn’t matter why, there are no good excuses.
I live and in my secret world I can fly. My secret world is filled with joy and happiness. Now all I need to do is bring that into the real world.