Wednesday, April 26, 2006

For Every Purpose

I'm a bit ashamed of that last post. It's so egocentric. But then, most of are. I think.

In any case, it appears that I won't have to take those exams just yet. Which is well and good, since this has been a pretty crazy few weeks.

My grandfather and another individual close to my heart are currently recovering from sudden, serious medical conditions that could have taken their lives. Today, a good friend's father, who was relatively young and in fine health, died of a stroke. I had been thinking that contemporary Judaism, with all its rituals and prayers for supplication and mourning, doesn't provide sufficient means for giving thanks for a loved one's recovery. Now I am thinking that what it really doesn't provide -- and perhaps nothing can -- is a means of coping with the strange combinations of joy and grief that life sends our way.

I have a tendency to react strongly to minor events and respond with relatively little emotion to more serious matters. When tragedy strikes, I tend to ignore it for as long as I can. Right now, for example, I am going to watch the Daily Show. Tomorrow, I'll go to the funeral.

Barukh Dayyan Ha-Emet.

8 comments:

erica said...

I think it would be difficult to have a traditional container for every variation on reasons for strong emotions.

I also think that my own reactions suggest that, when I can't quite deal with minor events (as frequently occurs), I respond with strong emotion. Because I don't know how to deal yet. But if I do know how to deal with a major event, I might feel calmer than one might otherwise expect. Also, in the case of something like the death of a friend's father -- I think I am not allowing myself to fully empathize, because it would bring up a level of fear and sadness that I can't handle.

erica said...

Part II, because I liked the story I started telling about egocentric friends...


If you can't be egocentric on a blog, when can you be egocentric? I'm not entirely clear on what makes something egocentric in a bad way, as opposed to just generally contemplating your navel interestingly. Though, someone I used to know, who was fully capable of talking about herself for forty-five minutes without pause or encouragement from her audience, is a tad egocentric. The only way I could ever talk about myself was by constantly interrupting her and returning the conversation to myself. The one time I tried this tactic, we spent thirty minutes interrupting each other in the same manner, and the friend ended up laughing and saying, "Look! We're both so self-absorbed."

Hee.

elf's DH said...

generally contemplating your navel interestingly

Isn't that some sort of New Agey spiritual thing?

erica said...

You mean literally? It's not something I've heard of anyone doing, though I'm by no means the authority on the subject. I imagine it is something people do when they're stoned. Dude.... look at my belly button...

elf said...

think it would be difficult to have a traditional container for every variation on reasons for strong emotions.

Fair enough. Ditto for your other thoughts. When it comes to a tragedy like this, there isn't really anything to do except be sad and offer your condolences, or suppress your feelings and move on. (I guess we all do a little of both.) There isn't much confusion or anxiety involved, because you know that you can't change the situation.

I'm not entirely clear on what makes something egocentric in a bad way, as opposed to just generally contemplating your navel interestingly.

I guess what bothered me about that last post is the way I linked my personal academic issues and religious obsessions to the larger message of the Exodus. It seemed kind of silly in retrospect.

Dude.... look at my belly button...

Hee hee.

erica said...

Ah, I do see what you mean by that, though it's not something that would have occurred to me on my own.

debka_notion said...

Isn't religion and religious life all about linking your own experience to religious texts and traditions?

elf said...

Isn't religion and religious life all about linking your own experience to religious texts and traditions?

That's part of it for me, anyway. But I still feel a bit silly.