Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lessons on Love - Love of God - Through Shoshie's Death

Oy! Shoshie.... where are you? I say this when alone - many times. Hoping that this is all a dream. She is the 1st thing I think about when I open my eyes and the last think before going to bed. Her presence filled our home and all of our lives. There is an nondescript closeness that weaves its way through our family. It's certainly not a smothering love ..... if you know Denise and I we give a lot of room to our children bordering sometimes on ignoring them.....but if you do know us - everything is all the time.........as real as it can be. Our transparency that exudes complete and utter genuineness of course has its downside too - the children can emotionally pick up our frustrations and disappointments but real love, real care, concern that flows like an unbridled white water river in Colorado.....the kids feel that too.

Knowing that they are loved is the greatest we have given to our kids and it's not by being on top of them. Its a collection of moments when our persona is tossed aside, the costume, the expectation of our identities when we go out in the world - they feel us. This love is not syrupy, it has given them a sense of self, confidence, secure of love - of course a lot of independence (have you met our kids?).....certain of our love. Sometimes its weird that they don't need reassurance - for instance Devori my daughter who just had her 15th b-day, She was away at school all day yesterday in NMB, stayed out in Miami with friends, didn't see her- was very busy yesterday...didn't text her until 9:00 p.m.- No drama, no after-thought- it was a "I love so much" and the response was "you too". At home we are celebrating her birthday tonight (Bli ayin hara for all of this). There is an amazing balance between being thoroughly involved in every aspect of their lives and yet at the same time having them to feel that we are not involved in any aspect of their lives.....at the same time! And this is where we get to God.

The Shema! No matter what almost every Jew knows the 1st line of the Shema. Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokainu Hashem Echad - hear of Israel , the Lord is our God, the Lord is one! When we say that Hashem is one, it is not a math issue, We aren't talking about "one" versus two or many- It's not that we are here on earth and he is there in the heavens as a oneness whose power controls all!
Oneness means -that this is all there is. "All" -Hashem should be called "allness". "One" means that he/she is all that exists- that is "reality" that has permanence. How anything else has life and existence is an eternal mystery. But there is not a million of an inch that God not only doesn't fill - but is it in it of itself. The Kabbalah describes this as Gods total imminence. But somehow at the same time we are not God!

Although, Judaism describes God as infinite, and there is no way to divide the oneness, there is no way for the existence of any other creature besides God, Judaism teaches us, despite that, not to think or consider that everyone and everything in existence is God him/her self. God's creations are considered .... well.... God's creations including us. Although its true that God fills everyone and everything at every second -we are not God. But its a cloud is true that we exist within God (think of a circle, name it God, make it "all" and draw all of creation including ourselves in that circle) -every second, every day of our lives. Just like a cartoon character has a thought that is represented as a cloud hovering above so too all of creation including ourselves is like a thought in God's mind. As long as the thought exists we exist. The fact that we breath a breath, the heart pumps, we digest food, we are able to go to the bathroom, we can see, hear, touch, smell, we eat, balance, have cognition, learn, thoughts themselves, appreciate -everything that is possible only though the will of God on a moment to moment basis, his thought, his sustenance- There is not a moment of our experience in life where God takes the foot off the pedal.... it is this recognition, realization, and reality that every moment of experience itself, the good and the bad is all a moment to moment gift.

The greatest potential for feeling happiness, fulfilled, secure, whole, well being and most important of all ......loved.... all comes from the ability to wake up to this reality we just described and feel gratitude. Every second is an opportunity to feel God's gifts- just sitting down right now, feeling the weight of your tuchus on the comfortable seat, breath slowly in and out, relax for a moment .... its fantastic being present for that.... we are not in the long lines of the DMB waiting to renew our drivers license.
The opposite is also true just as gratitude is the gateway for everything good in life so too entitlement contains every poison.

Yet, although God is really only imminent, within every molecule that exists at every moment, somehow he is also transcendent. How anyone or anything exists besides God is an eternal mystery. The Kabbalah describes it as if God withdrew himself from the center- constricted himself if you will (what does this mean i don't really know) but what remained were these vessels (us). God's light at the same time peered completely through the vessel (Gods imminence) and yet hovered completely around it (God's transcendence) Gods light was completely part and seemingly not part of the vessel at the same time.

For something "other" to exist - you have to withdraw a space inside yourself where the "other' can not only exist but grow on its own accord not feeling inhibited, self conscious, not feeling someone is looking over their shoulder, not feeling afraid to make a mistake but yet the existence of the "other' must feel a presence, a love, a deep care and concern every second - Parenting love .... (spouse love too) is like Hashem's love - totally transcendent - even aloof.... even concealed .... behind the scenes yet your love is there every second not a moment withdrawn. Having them feel the balance of imminence and transcendent is the trick of all tricks and the magic or all magic.

Just because Shoshie is not here does not lessen my love. It only intensifies it. She is entirely spiritual now. My heart and soul is ever connected to hers without the limitations of her physical and material being and its needs. I now understand though why it's so painful and she is the 1st thing I think about in the morning and the last at night. Why I can't or don't want to look at her scrap books, see the you tube videos of her and her friends, nor go the cemetery - it's too painful. My focus on being transcendent in demonstrating love to Shoshie is gone. No more veil .. no more leaving her space to grow, for independence, no more behind the scenes for me - now I only feel my imminence to her. Close love that only wants to love, cherish, support, nurture every fiber of her being in this world..... alas I can't - very painful. I can however take this Shoshie preoccupation and do Mitzvot for her... learn Torah for her.... and in that way we can be together forever... loving her even more deeply than before

She has, this realization has taught me about God and his love for us. Not a second goes by where not only is God sustaining us, nurturing us as I described above, not only is every moment a gift to us and all of the life that is in it......but every second just like I feel with Shoshie... God wants to be as close to us as possible, he is rooting for us, cheering for us, wants our pleasure, true pleasure, every lasting, wants us to grow, develop, mature, he wants greatness for us but also with us

Don't make the mistake that just because God is totally transcendent and is oft hidden in this word doesn't mean that he isn't totally %100 imminent. And just like we have been involved in this balance with Shoshie so too with us.

God too doesn't have to be transcendent with Shoshie any more just imminent. Shoshie can now feel Gods total love for her without aloofness, without space, without boundary, without anything in between. what a realization.

Our constant, Un-forsaken love for Shoshie, the constant ache of missing her, - the every second preoccupation of Shoshie- teaches me about God's total imminence in our lives, his constant love every second.

Our parenting experience with Shoshie - the balance of being transcendent for the sake of her growth and independence teaches me about God's transcendence with us.

God's seemingly hiddeness and aloofness is his true love without it we couldn't grow to be who he wants us to be.

Gratitude is the key that unlocks the blocks of not feeling God's love. Appreciate and accept the gifts- feel the love - love God back become a vessel for his presence.


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