While waiting for my 15-year-old daughter to come out of an appointment today, I read this in a newspaper article, and it really affected me. “Traditionally we seek solace in religion, sports, entertainment, and in the promise that modern science and societies provide all the tools needed to solve any problem,” says the writer, explaining how the current situation has upended all that.
But what now?
Those who have read my articles know I openly express my own emunah (faith) and adult-onset adherence to the Jewish mitzvot. Which is great. But in the trenches of daily living when things get ugly, I admit I have almost always looked externally for solace. Or blamed others for my feelings of fear, disappointment, or sadness.
My husband should make me feel better by saying and doing the right things, for example, or my religion and trusted rabbis should provide a source of inspiration. Or I turn to my beloved chocolate, or watch a feel-good Netflix documentary as my kids groan over this sappy source of “entertainment.”
This afternoon, while doing a mini-architecture project, my 9-year-old daughter ended up crying. We’ve been homeschooling for months, by choice, and for the most part, we have taken a pretty loose approach to the process — allowing them to discover themselves and their own interests. It’s what’s dubbed de-schooling, and it’s been an overall amazing experience.
But today I tried to get her and her brother to better stick to the schedule I create for them each week. I made her finish something she was in the middle of before taking off to start a science experiment. And the power struggle ensued, culminating in tears and frustration.
After a bit of cooling-off time, I went to her and we mended ways with a hug and a walk outside.
During our walk, I reminded her and myself that it’s okay to feel frustrated or sad or angry. We talked about thoughts and emotions and where they come from. But really she just wanted me to stop talking and pointed out a heart-shaped leaf. So, of course, I had to take a picture of it, and her. Capturing the moment provided me solace and evidence that we did some science. And we found out its type — there’s an app for that.
But wow, what a reminder that this world contains such beauty, such comfort — when we stop to enjoy it. And it’s a reminder that there’s a loving Creator of all this magic.
We are learning new ways of ‘being’ during this crazy time, learning to think differently. I love the videos of people in Israel and Italy on their balconies connecting to each other through music, despite all odds.
We are here in this seemingly crazy world just temporarily. It’s not meant to be easy. Each challenge large or small makes us smarter and stronger. And while we used to seek solace in sports, entertainment, and in the promises of modern science and societies, now we must look up, look around, look within.
There is underlying goodness, a light within all things and all people, just waiting for us to notice. Now is the time.
Mindy Rubenstein has worked as a professional journalist and writer since 1998. As editor of Nishei, she helps women and children express themselves through writing. She has written about her Jewish journey for various publications. You can read some of those articles here. She and her husband live in Florida and have four children.
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