Thursday, April 27, 2006

Despair is just another word for..a teeny weeny box

It’s always the simple, obvious things that take me the longest to understand.

The other day I had one of those moments, where something seemingly understandable suddenly made sense to me. I think I finally figured out the connection between being a frum Jew and not allowing despair into my life. It always seemed to me like one of those clichés people spit out without putting too much thought into. Isn’t it obvious that despair isn’t healthy or conducive to growth? But I never internalized it until now.

I sometimes go into these momentary out-of-body reality checks where I see my life, from an objective perspective, and I realize how much I’ve done so far, and how much I have left to accomplish. This usually leads to a small panic attack, as I realize how much is left, and how incapable I feel. I want to get married, I want a good job, I want a happy, healthy, physical, mental and emotional existence and it all seems so far away from me. What usually ensues from this is an attack of self-pity, self-loathing and all kinds of other self-negatives.

The way I usually get myself out of one of these moods is that I go back and look at what I’ve accomplished so far, what my capabilities are and I slowly coach myself back into believing that I can handle the situation and its not as drastic as it seems.

Well, the other day, it occurred to me that the situation is as drastic as it seems. I really am not capable of handling the challenges ahead and I really don’t have the tools or energy to do everything that needs to be done. I decided I just wasn’t in the mood to fool myself into believing things I felt were untrue or unrealistic. The result of that was that I felt myself falling from a state of panic to depressed to despair. And that scared me.

Frum jews don’t despair. G-d loving humans don’t despair.
And suddenly it hit me.
*I* cant see the light at the end of the tunnel.
*I* don’t have the means to achieve what I want.
*I* don’t have the energy to continue to fight.
*I*‘m not strong enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, patient enough, hardworking enough... to get where I want to be.
But that’s ok. I’m human. I’m finite. I have my limits. I’m not supposed to be all those things, I’m supposed to strive for towards them.
It felt liberating to accept my weaknesses, to accept that I dont have to take care of everything and control everything.
And then my next thought was.. but *G-d* is all those things. G-d has no limits. G-d can make anything happen, G-d does control it all... and THAT was truly comforting.

Despair is sticking G-d into a box with -my- limits imposed on Him. And *I* don’t believe that. Suddenly it made sense to me. Torah observant Jews don’t despair because no matter how hard the situation gets, no matter how helpless it seems, no matter how impossible it seems to get out of, we believe in G-d and He isn’t limited by our ‘too hard’ ‘too helpless’, ‘too impossible’ ‘ too tired’. G-d is infinite and so are the possibilities that He can provide us with. All we need to do is try our best, using what we've been given.. and leave the rest up to Him.

This may not seem like a big revelation to most, but to me it was a complete epiphany. I confirmed to myself that I would never (G-d willing) ever again sink to a level of despair where all seemed hopeless. No matter how dire the situation might appear, I could always comfort myself with the thought that if G-d wants to take me out of it, He will find a way how to.


At Thursday, April 27, 2006 2:38:00 AM, Blogger YeshivishGuy said...

Absoluetly. Nailed it on the head.
If I may add.... even when we are confident and secure that we CAN do the job, we still have to go with your mindset.. I'm not the doer here, Hashem is.
So really a jew has one universal mindset, whatever the situation may be. Hashem runs the world and what I perceive to be the situation and what i think I can or can't do is really one big fat illusion.

At Sunday, April 30, 2006 2:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo... you describe your (and my) feelings very well.
Things WILL be okay if you keep believing, and keep being positive.
However, it is also recommended not to learn to accept things as a matter of some defense mechanism.
Always try to fight shit that u dont like and wanna improve as well...
Balance baby! Balance! :)
Love ya.

At Friday, June 16, 2006 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Talmid said...

Wonderful post! You made me remember that I know that G-d belives in me more than I have so far learnt to believe in myself.


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