Thursday, June 04, 2009

It's all a test, and I am failing

According to The Garden of Emuna, every negative experience we encounter is designed to humble us and bring us closer to Gd, to beg for help and forgiveness, to atone for whatever sins and wrongs we've committed.

In my case, it's not working. I'm about 2/3 through the book, and my resentment and anger and misery aren't remitting. Yesterday I ate an entire container of Edy's slow-churn ice cream. I guess it was half a gallon. Because I can't face the fact that tomorrow I will be single, alone, childless, and 39.

I've been coy about revealing my age on here. To protect my real identity, in part, but also because I didn't want to admit to everyone how old I am. I'm ashamed of it. Ashamed that I reached this age with so little in my personal life to show for it.

The Garden of Emuna says I should pray to be enlightened as to what I'm doing wrong. Maybe I'm tremendously arrogant, but I honestly can't see why my efforts to be good have led me to the sorry state I'm in today. I'm not perfect, but nobody is.

And yes, I know my life could be worse. Knowing that doesn't help. Because the trend has been for my life to keep getting worse in ways I couldn't begin to imagine. I dread the future. I don't want to grow old; I want to die young. Maybe in my early sixties, or fifties.

On my real Facebook page, people have already started sending me birthday congratulations, which I'm receiving bitterly. I posted a status update that tomorrow I would be old, and people responded:

HT: unless you're turning 70, you're really not old

LY: 70? Feh. 90. Now, that's old.

Ayelet: I *really* hope I don't make it to 90.

SA: You *really* hope you don't make it to 90? What's the alternative?

Ayelet: if my life continues as it is now, I *really* hope I die suddenly sometime in my early sixties. I can't imagine my knees, back, sinuses, and all my other decrepit systems improving with age.

SA: But if you don't continue who will I have to bother? besides we'd all miss you.

Ayelet: There's only so long I'm willing to go on living for other people ;)

And that's the truth. Am I doing not only well but good at my job? Yes, I think so. I help people. I make them feel better. I'm pretty good at that. Does that keep me warm at night? Not even close.

David Carradine killed himself today. The same day as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline launched their new website. I hope it saves many lives. Because there are plenty of unhappy people who really have something to live for. I don't really think I'm one of them.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

7 comments:

  1. Life hurts a lot, sometimes.

    I'm sorry, hon. ::hugs::

    --S

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  2. First of all, don't accept that these hardships are necessarily the result of you 'doing something wrong.' G0d does stuff. We don't understand it. We can accept that, or we can reject the whole premise, which opens up a whole new can of dating prospects ;).

    Second, you help a LOT of people, a LOT of the time.

    Third, David Carradine may not have been attempting suicide. He may've actually been attempting something else entirely.

    Fourth, he was 72, so he was officially old, according to HT.

    It's not your birthday yet, so I won't wish you a happy one or even acknowledge it. Mwah!

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  3. Every time I want to write words of encouragement here on your blog, I realize that anything that'll fit in a soundbite will sound cliched. So for now, all I'll say is that both S and I are thinking of you and know things will improve, one way or the other. Here's hoping it'll be a happy birthday despite all!

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  4. Once there was a little boy walking along an ocean beach. The beach stretched for miles, literally as far as the eye could see. Every day there were millions of starfish dying on the beach -- creatures that had been washed up onto the beach by waves, but who had no way of returning back into the water. The little boy began picking up these small urchins, one by one, and returning them to the sea, thus assuring that they would live. An elderly man watched this performance, and as the little boy continued along the beach, the man spoke to him. "Little boy, why are you doing this? Can't you see that there are millions of these starfish dying here in the sun?" What you are doing can't possibly make a difference." The little boy looked at the man for a moment, and then reached down, picked up a starfish and returned it to the sea. "I made a difference to this one," he said. In small ways, and large ways, every day, you do make a difference. It isn't always enough to get you through to the next day, but it is to that person you just helped. If not for you, they may be where you are holding now. So think of yourself as your client and do for yourself what you would do for your client. If it means advice to pray, to go to a laughter yoga workshop, a movie with a friend, leave town, get inspired, whatever it takes -even in the short term, which can turn the tide for you in the long term...because you have reached the age you have reached, you know that the mood and mind space always can and will be different... very different. You will get through this. There is a plan. I promise you that. Feel free to write privately on my facebook.

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  5. Don't feel bad, you're not the only one who's still single and 39. In two more months I'll be 40 and single. How do you think that makes me feel?!

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  6. Hi Ayelet! I've been following your blog for the past while.

    The Garden of Emuna and it's author are amazing.The WHOLE secret to success in this world is Emunah.

    Rav Arush (the author of the book)has come out with a new idea which is a mircle worker. To say "Thank you" for everything. He usually talks about the importance of talking to hashem (hitbodidut) in your day to day laungage like Hashem is your friend. But his new "chidush" is to just to say "Thank you".
    No requests, or regrests just to say "thank you" for everything we have...even the things that aren't so great.

    "Thank you for my kids who drive me crazy"
    Thank you for not giving me money to buy new clothes"
    Thank you for giving me a husband who doesn't help me with house work.
    Thank you for my job.
    Thank you for letting me get up in the morning.
    Thank you for the fact that I'm not married.

    I just started doing it...

    and if this doesn't help...then just dance!!!

    May this year bring you much happiness and succes.

    Tsipora

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  7. By the way, yes, everything has a purpose, but you can't constantly think "this is a test, this is a test." Frankly, if I did think that all the time, I'd panic and flunk out. Tests are scary.

    Maybe sometimes you have to just kick and scream and yell "it's not FAIR!" and let yourself be angry and frustrated that life isn't happening the way you want it to. You're not a saint. You're a human being going through a hard time.

    God doesn't expect perfect faith from you. I don't think God expects perfect ANYTHING from any of us. That's because if He/She wanted perfection, humanity would have been superfluous... God alone is truly perfect. We're here to be flawed, to be damaged, to break down and fall apart and glue the pieces back together. We're here to make mistakes so we can learn and grow and change.

    You're an amazing person, Ayelet. Appreciate that about yourself. See yourself as the fantastic and yes, flawed, person that you are. You know what, it took me so long to get here, and yes in a lot of ways I feel angry and old and tired and I wonder why it had to take this much time for me to be even close to okay. But it did.

    So celebrate 39. You put in a lot of work to get to that day. Nothing was wasted. Nothing was lost. The only thing that's gone is pain you've passed through and let go. So let it go, it's gone.

    One more year and you reach the age of true wisdom and self-knowledge. That's something to look forward to... the age at which it is acknowledged that people reach the level of maturity that allows them to begin studying Kabbalah, the deeper mysteries that youth is not ready for. You're ready for the big stuff now. Celebrate that!

    With love and sympathy,
    --S

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