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Posts Tagged ‘despair’

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

~From Paul Simon’s ‘I Am A Rock’ 
For most of my childhood and even my adult life, I grew to treasure Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock” as a mantra in my life. As soon as the song played, I would feel like this song was written just for me. My heart would begin racing quickly, my spirit would feel at peace and I would sing out the words, “I AM A ROCK; I AM ISLAND” as if I were greeting my best friend.
Subconsciously, I always understood that I needed to protect myself from being hurt by others. And this song reminded me that I had my armor; I was actually doing just fine. Of course, I wasn’t. . . I was alone and even if I wasn’t alone, I felt like I was.
And then I met Louis at my senior prom. I am sorry Shai. I went with one of my closest friends and met the person who would become my first real boyfriend. Louis was and still is one of the most amazing people I had ever met. He loved me deeply and accepted the brokenness that must have been a pain to deal with. Or maybe he didn’t see how broke I was because it took me nearly twenty years after meeting him before I understood the ramifications of my traumatic childhood.
Either way, Louis showed up and held me. He helped me find my voice and allowed me to be who I was. Of course what does any 18 year old really understand about who they are? Louis loved who I was and who I believed I was at that time.
When I say that Louis helped me find my voice, that is true in every way. He listened to me and helped melt away the years of ice that had wrapped my spirit. He wrote me beautiful poems that let me know how loved I was. And he invited me to sing with him and to him. He welcomed me into his world and loved me for who I was.
And later when our relationship ended because Louis came out, he always held a space for me in his life. I was shattered when he told me could no longer be my beloved boyfriend because he realized that that wasn’t who he was. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. And in truth, since the day we met, my life has never been without him. Louis was the first person outside of my family who really loved me forever.
Fifteen years later, when I brought my father to the hospital for what would become his last six weeks of life, Louis was the first person I called and he was the one person who sat with me as one of the worst nightmares of my life unfolded. I was saying good-bye to my father who I had always deeply adored and somehow forgiven for not being able to keep me safe, for not being the father he should have been. I was beyond devastated; and my sons, nieces, and nephews were losing the best Zaydie Morry, grandfather, in the world.
As I sat crumbling in the depths of despair, Louis held me and told me that everything would be OK. Only I didn’t believe him, but he was right, eventually a new norm unfolded and everything became OK once again. Louis has always been there for me.
Chava and Louis - Passover 2016

Louis and Chava – Passover 2016

I jokingly refer to myself as the wandering Jew; I will probably always feel that way. Regardless of where my family moved, Louis has stayed part of my life. When my family moved back Washington DC, he started coming to our Passover Seder every year and then when we again moved away, he still kept coming back every other year. He has been with me through every life cycle event and major life change since I met him. He has showed up even when I didn’t expect him to.

Meeting Louis also meant that I was blessed to connect to his beautiful family. His parents were really sweet to me and I grew to love one of his sisters nearly as much as I loved Lou!  And when we were in college, he introduced me to the most amazing women who while I don’t see them enough, I treasure beyond words.
While I still struggle with feeling alone at times and “shielding myself with armor”, it was Louis’ commitment to loving me that opened the door to me becoming the person I am.  I may sometimes feel like “a rock” or “an island”, but it is also the lie I tell myself as way of protecting my spirit.
May we all have at least one person who embraces us for who we are.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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‎”Action is the antidote to despair.” -Joan Baez

Life encompasses so many waves of emotions. Frustration, happiness, anger, contentment, sadness, calmness, and despair. . . .the list is infinite.  For the most part, we can allow ourselves the space to navigate each wave by sitting with it, embracing it, or sometimes letting it go out into the world.  Despair, however, needs action or it will literally destroy you.

Sailboat1

Photo courtesy of
Shay Seaborne

While those that are facing despair might need to sit with it for a time, they will ultimately need to reach out of themselves and function in some small way if they will be able to move forward.  Despair is the profound sense of hopelessness that penetrates our being when something happens and we feel out of control. And while those in despair want to curl up in their cocoon and sometimes need to for a time, they equally need to find their way out of the cocoon too.

In the last few weeks, I have faced moments of despair.  An intense sense of loss takes over me when I fear for my sons’ health.  Both of my sons have faced serious health struggles that could have altered their lives in profound ways. Life is a gift; it is not a given.  So when we had our moment of utter fear that hell was visiting our home again, I literally crumbled.  The reality is that I couldn’t allow myself too long to become despondent because I had to act responsibly .  I had to act by taking my older son to doctors, MRIs, blood work, all while keeping perspective,  seeking information, and ultimately trusting that this was a moment and this moment would pass; I also had to go to work as I could.  There is no option for hope.  And to share the words of Tony Kushner that I shared in a recent blog, ““It’s an ethical obligation to look for hope; it’s an ethical obligation not to despair.  If you look, there is always a possibility of finding a place where action can change the course of things. ” Only through action can you propel yourself forward.  So I did what I needed to do and in the end, it feels like we have dodged a bullet and the moment of sheer fear is gone.  Moments happen; not every moment has to lead to hell.

While the above incident looms large in my life, I have also faced other challenges in life and work over the past weeks that can feel like momentary despair.  Friendships change; loved ones evolve; our children humble us; work struggles happen.  In any given day, we navigate moments of despair when we believe there is no solution.  Giving into those moments does nothing for our souls.  Nothing.  So with each moment, I have learned to acknowledge what is, allowing myself the space for sadness, anger, or tears. But for momentary despair, I have to move forward and find solutions to what’s going on at any given moment; there is no option.

Despair is a very real emotion.  And in truth, sometimes loss penetrates the soul and there is no hope, at least for a while.  For that I am deeply sad and sorry for anyone that has to go through that experience.  For most of us, despair has moments of complete darkness, but when we ride the wave, we find calmer waters and even hope.

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