Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Time of Year

As anyone who has seen me around has surely noticed, I am not myself.  I'm feeling flat.  Not happy or sad, or angry, or fed up, just sort of flat.  Max is up at his new school, so the daily chaos has receded.  Henry's school has just begun, and I'm grateful that he's in a place that values him so thoroughly, and understands what he's been through.

But, really, we're always in it, rather than through it. The Jewish holidays are hard for a totally atypical Jewish family like ours.  I don't miss Max...that would imply that I wish he were here, and I certainly don't feel that way.  If Max were here, I would not be able to go to synagogue on Rosh Hashana, or enjoy a holiday meal with our family.  Of course, presently, I don't really feel like going to synagogue.  I will be surrounded by families, intact families with parents arguing with their children over going to the kids' programming, everyone complaining that kids should stop running in the hallways.  I'll be reading the prayers, wondering if I should really say these words that I don't believe.  I don't really feel that any deity has helped me out, and I certainly won't feel (on Yom Kippur) that I have anything to atone for.  Why should I atone when I'm already being punished?  Because if there is a G-d like the one we pray to on these High Holidays, then I want nothing to do with Him.

Mostly, the prayers of the High Holidays force me to imagine G-d as Star Trek: The Next Generation's Q
And then it doesn't feel like religion or faith anymore, it just makes me think about Will Wheaton and how damn funny he's been on Big Bang Theory.  But back to the synagogue experience.

I'm faced with everything my family isn't.  And people kindly ask about Max.  Many are shocked that I haven't brought him home from school for the holidays, which shows how much they know.  People ask how he is, but only give me about 4 seconds to respond.  It takes a few minutes for me to say how Max is.  I want to approach it slowly, and really tell them.  But hardly anyone actually wants to know.  I wish that I didn't know.  So, I give my usual answer, "well, you know" or "he's doing his thing".  I act like I'm all cool with how much THIS SUCKS.  Because hiding my feelings is key to being the cool chick that I am.  I act like I'm all philosophical.  I say stupid things about people having their own way, and Max being a different kind of person, blah blah blah.  But I'm in synagogue, and I'm supposed to be not angry at G-d, especially at the holidays, which is the only time I see most of these people at shul.

I'm there plenty, for Shabbat mornings as well as Board meetings, which is how I know that this idea of G-d isn't working for me, not at all.  For a while, I had some faith in it.  And then I stopped having faith, but I felt like I could fake my way through it, and maybe if I said the prayers, every word, maybe I'd get something in return.  But when I read Shemoneh Esrei ( I feel like a liar.  I feel like I don't believe any of what I'm saying, and then I wonder if I should really be saying it.  Particularly this part, "You sustain the living with lovingkindness, you revive the dead with great mercy, you support the falling, heal the sick, set free the bound and keep faith with those who sleep in the dust."

I know I'm not the only one who struggles, but I'm just not getting good answer on addressing my struggle.  The more time I spend at shul, the more aggravated I become.  So if you don't see me after the first day of Rosh Hashana, you'll know why.


  1. You are so right that you are not the only one who struggles with faith!

    I started to realize that my faith, my religion, my utter trust and believe in something bigger, more powerful, more beautiful than I is my faith and belief in my marriage, my love for my husband. I believe that this blind love and faith (is blind the right word?) will bring he and I (and our family) through the tough stuff.

    I don't know if that helps - no, I know it doesn't. But I know that you have faith - be it in yourself, or marriage, your community - and that there is strength, love, power with you as you LIVE IN this life.


  2. It’s hard to want to commune with a creator when all I want some days is to be forgotten and left alone.

    A wise teacher once told me that it is perfectly ok to be mad at G-d so long as I keep praying, attending worship and telling Him about it.

    Times of prayer, times when I am called to sit, stand, kneel and worst of all, reflect, are the hardest for me. If we didn’t have prayers that we repeat together as a community I honestly don’t think I’d have anything to say to G-d.

    It isn’t supposed to be this hard. It isn’t supposed to suck this much. And how come I don’t feel ANY of those wonderful emotions that faith is supposed to bring? All I feel like is a dried up, hard apricot pit. And I hate apricots.

    I’ll sit beside you in spirit for your holidays, Sam.

    Logan’s Mommy on paper…
    (And thanks for adding the links.)