Usually, after Yom Kippur, which finished at sundown last night, I feel encouraged to go out in the world and do good deeds, fight the good fight, and so on.
This year, I want to go back to bed, eat chocolate, binge on Netflix and cry. I’m in a shitty transition time – it’s not fun, and I’m not fun to be around … I’ve become a bit of a grump.
I don’t think it’s age. I think this is just a shitty time – waiting for a hip replacement, knowing it knocks out long-held dreams and dreading the months of recovery.
So last night, I cooked. I broke all the Jewish dietary laws in one swoop. I made pasta with bacon, onions, peppers, and shrimp, covered in cheese. It was good, even great. Exactly what I needed. I had two helpings and waited for divine retribution. Nothing happened, not even indigestion.
This unholy culinary twitch was triggered by a supposedly innocuous statement by a dental assistant. After balancing a series of pointy sticks on my chest, she asked about the hip replacement. I was trying hard not to cry. Then she started with “God never gives you more than you can handle,” and continued with the equally moronic statement, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
What a crock of shit.
Tell that to the people whose homes have been flooded.
To a couple who lost a baby.
To a person who has been mugged, assaulted, beaten.
Yeah, go ahead and try smothering them with platitudes. See what happens.
These well-wishers dismiss the pain, the existential despair, and suffering of being human and thoughtful. Being a person is difficult – thinking, empathy, feeling, navigating your world and the world of others takes energy and kindness.
So for the new year, I am going to work on kindness – giving more into the world by acknowledging when people, myself included, are in shitty places. I’m not going to deny people their pain. Maybe I’ll make them some pasta.