Personal Tehillim/Psalms 1

This is my attempt at writing my own personal Tehillim.

Tehillim 1

Happy is the one who has a friend to lean on
in times of trouble
Or someone to talk to when distressed
Or can share their thoughts openly with them.
It is a relief from sorrows
When someone can share all their mind with another.

That friend is like streams of fresh water
And their compassion never runs dry
Regardless of the season.
Their love does not fade throughout the years
And their friendship thrives throughout their whole lives.

Not so for those who are alone
And without a good friend.
Sorrow gnaws at the heart
And bitterness overwhelms the mind.

If you have a good friend
Travel the road to visit them often
For the road to isolation leads to sadness and despair.

Vulnerability and isolation

I finally got moved into my new apartment with some good and some…well, not so good.  I feel safer here than I did when I was living in my parents house, which is out in the country.  But the noise of living in close proximity to other people (both beside and above me) will take some time getting used to.

I have been going back to the house to pack up things, going through old pictures, sorting through things, etc.  For the first time in the nine months since my mother died, I broke down in tears.  I think I have not really mourned her lost.  Part of it may be due to the fact that right after this, my father’s health declined.  He was in the hospital for weeks, then needed 24 hour care in a long term care facility.  On top of all that, I have been taking care of his affairs, his property, and getting ready to sell his assets, etc.

Another part of it is I created this false self at an early age (due to long term sexual abuse) and in doing so, I didn’t really recognize what I was feeling, so I discounted them.  At some point I learned along the way “keep your chin up”, “put on a happy face”, “don’t let them see you come apart”, “expressing emotions is a sign of weakness”, etc.  I have engaged in this type of self talk for so long, it seems like I’ve always done it.  But the problem with having a false self is you don’t know your true self which only adds to the confusion.

As I was speaking with my counselor about these matters last week, I said “I think I am still that little girl who’s hiding”.  She responded with “I think you are right.  You avoid anything that you think might make you vulnerable”.

It was easy to isolate myself from the rest of the world.  What’s hard is forming and maintaining relationships with others.   I don’t even know when I began to shut myself off from the world but I know it has happened slowly over years.  I slowly became a loner with no friends…and now my family is fading away…or the family that mattered.  As the days turned into weeks and weeks into years, it became harder and harder to communicate with others or to even be social with strangers.  It has gotten to the point where I no longer want to go grocery shopping, simply because I don’t want to be around people.  (Although, I still go at this point.)  I even moved closer to a synagogue (about 15 minutes away) but it terrifies me to think of going there to be around people.  Something I wanted to do from the beginning and when I have the opportunity, I do nothing.  In order to stop this madness though, I must be okay with being vulnerable.  Hmmm…I am not there yet.

Deficiency and fulfillment

Since my last post, which I can’t even remember now, a lot has happened.

For anyone who is Jewish, especially a convert living outside the camp of a Jewish community, it is extremely hard.  Just in case I have not said that already.  I don’t recommend it and now I understand why Orthodox won’t allow it.

As I may (or may not) have mentioned before, Chabad.org has been my lifeline during times of despair and loneliness.  I have no Jewish friends or potential Jewish partners available to me living out here in this desolate place.  No community…no one to share ideas…no physically available Jew to learn from.  Nothing except the virtual world.

In October of 2017, my father and I found my mother lying in a pool of her own blood at 2am.  She was taken to the hospital and eventually died about a month later.  She was in the advanced stages of cancer and none of us knew.  But I was glad I was able to help care for her in her own home those last few weeks of her life.  In April of this year, my father also fell and has been in a long term care facility ever since.  He will need 24 hour care for the rest of his life…however long that is, since he too is also in the advanced stages of cancer.

I have lived with my parents since 2013, but because my father is in a long term care facility, I will have to sell his house and property…or at least, move out by October or November of this year.  This will be when he can no longer be “private pay” and his properties will have to be sold to care for him.  I have managed to secure an apartment, when it becomes available (which is supposed to be next month) but the emotional stress from all of this threw me into a place I thought I would never be.

Several weeks ago, I reached a point where suicide looked like a real possibly.  I had entered into this state that a Chabad instructor called “atzvut”.  That dangerous, hopeless, “I’m not going to do anything about this” form of depression that slowly eats you alive and you don’t even care.  I had not even engaged in any Jewish learning, davening, lighting Shabbat candles, etc. since before last October.  I gave up on davening around the same time because it seemed meaningless to me.  “This is so stupid saying the same thing over and over” I thought at one point.  I had lost interest in everything but at some point in this hopeless state I remembered a statement from this small book called “Shamati” which I had purchased several years ago…maybe because it was small and I just love pocket sized books.  The statement:  “A prayer is considered a deficiency, and without deficiency there is no fulfillment.”

Around this same time, I had spoken with a penpal via Skype who, unknowingly had given me some practical advice without ever realizing anything about the hopeless state I was in.  I don’t know if she was just that unaware of what was going on or if I was just that good at hiding it.

In any case, I began davening again just to try to get out of this state.  Early during the prayers for maariv, I think I literally laughed out loud.  For the first time, I realized the “prayers” I was saying were not about me.  They were not about the wretched state I was in…no pleads to take it all away…and for whatever reason I had this image pop in my head in which G-d was telling me “enough about you.  I create day and night, rolling away the light before the darkness, and darkness before the light…Mi chamochah ba’alim Adonai, mi chamochah nedar bakodesh?…”  Indeed, who is like Y Continue reading “Deficiency and fulfillment”