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!
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.