Yesterday, during the fast, I decided to peer into the archives here and see if there was any content I could post on this blog’s Facebook page. I did find this great post from four years ago that was anyways getting a ton of search traffic.
I felt such a rush of emotions going through it. I felt a twinge of sadness at how much time and energy I used to give this wonderful blog and how little I give to it now, even if it’s for good reasons (growing family, growing communal responsibilities, growing writing obligations to other sites). I also felt a pang of nostalgia for how idealistic I was, especially after reading this post about what I was inspired to do after my first sister-in-law’s death. I’m not quite like that anymore.
Four years is a short time and a long time. It feels short because the days, weeks and years just fly right on by. But it’s long enough to get a high school diploma or a college degree. It’s long enough to go from having one child in elementary school and three at home to having three children in elementary school and one in full-day preschool.
It’s short enough to still have that box of odd and ends to go through, to still have that broken microwave in my kitchen (we don’t really use microwaves anyways, but that’s something I’ll discuss later, whatever). But it’s long enough to have both grown in my Yiddishkeit and also lost ground.
The last four years have been deeply challenging. I’ve been presented with tremendous challenges in my personal life to not hate, to not become angry and cynical, to not lose faith and respect for Torah scholars and rabbis and “important people” (yes I’m being deliberately vague about why, sorry, can’t really ever discuss it).
At the same time, I’ve matured in my relationship to Yiddishkeit. I’ve come into my own about my observance, found my niche, stopped being as afraid of what other people would think or say. I stopped pretending my past was divorced from my present. I started being much more open about my background and it has been a tremendously freeing experience. This synthesization of disparate parts of my life has led to growth in both confidence and comfort.
Because life is so busy and there are so many demands on my time, I do not always stop to reflect on the past, on where I’ve grown and on where I’ve lost ground. I love how the Jewish year gives me that opportunity to stop and look back.
And you know, since Tisha B’Av is behind us, it is getting to be that time, time to start thinking about ELUL. Spending just one day thinking about where I’ve come from gave me a tremendous boost to think about where I want to go. It’s why I made time to daven shacharis this morning before writing this post (and after I dropped all my kids off at camp). Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up.
I’m planning on doing my Quick Thoughts for Elul again, but this time over on my Instagram account, check it out if you like. Also keep an eye out for a new piece I wrote for Jew in the City, it’s going up soon, I’ll link to it when it’s up (UPDATE: here it is!).