This week’s Torah portion is Bo. We get the last of the plagues and after the excruciating tenth plague, Pharaoh tells Moses to get out of Egypt. Hebrew slaves are told to mark their lintels, make their feast, eat matzah for seven days.
Last week, as Moses was still trying to convince Gd he was not the man for the job, playing the speech-impediment card, Gd told him to find his older brother Aaron and get him to be the spokesperson. There is a lot of ‘Gd said to Moses to say to Aaron’ in the chapters 7 and 8. Gd was not letting Moses off the hook. Gd gave Moses help, but kept him in the game.
This week has been difficult. Physically, I had a blessedly short-lived back spasm that pretty much resolved itself within 24 hours. While experiencing it was brutal and it was difficult to move around, I also had the opportunity to rest and take care of myself. Emotionally I have felt raw, and spiritually deficient. The holiday school break was long and there was no space from family, save for about four hours one evening. Tomorrow will be the first day that the rest of my family will be at their schools all day (which means til 3 or 3:30, just about the same time I get home from work).
Yesterday I made my program calls. I had decided not to go to my 7:15 am meeting to take advantage of a little extra sleep and score a few points with my daughter by driving her to school myself (as opposed to the person who usually takes her on Wednesdays). The first person I called noticed that I had also decided to sleep in and miss the Saturday 7:15 am meeting. She was clear about not being judgmental, just something to be aware of–especially since I was having such a hard time. I knew as soon as I said I’d gone to the Sunday night and Monday morning meetings that I sounded defensive. She was right to point it out to me–and to make sure I was careful. Just the day before I had spoken to my sponsor about the possibility of adding an extra tablespoon of oil/fat a day. “I wouldn’t do it,” she told me. She didn’t say, no, you can’t, but she wouldn’t so I won’t. She has what I want. She also said something I’d never heard before, something a pilot friend had told her: plan your flight, then fly your plan. It’s so perfect for program. I have a plan, I just need to keep flying it.
That afternoon I went to a meeting I’d never attended before. It was hard to walk into this new meeting! Everyone was sitting around a bunch of tables that had been pushed together; no one was talking; everyone was much older. I took a seat next to the only person who smiled at me and we started to chat a bit. No one said a word–it was a little weird, but eventually people I knew showed up and things got started. And I shared after the person qualified. I said I’d been having a hard day. It had been a tough week, the morning was rough, but I knew I could get to the meeting, and looking forward to it had helped me. Attending it had helped even more.
I made another program call in the afternoon. When the woman answered the phone, seemingly glad to hear from me, and asked how I was, I almost said fine, just making my calls. But I didn’t. I said, you know? I’m having a bad day. She let me talk and cry and didn’t try to fix or change anything. I apologized for dumping on her, and she gave me a gift. She said that the beauty of program is that she can take my call, hold space for my stuff, and when we finish talking, she doesn’t have to carry it with her. She likes me and we are program friends, but I’m not in her every-day real life, what I tell her isn’t about her, her family, her work, her friends…she can care about me without getting sucked into whatever it is I’m experiencing. And I realized that I can and do that for other people, too. But I hadn’t made a call quite like this one–it was hard and scary and I felt like a baby and weak. And when we hung up I felt better. And knowing I hadn’t wrecked her day was so relieving.
Today was much better. The morning was really good, and it was because the program’s structure really held me yesterday. As the day progressed and an issue about a project I’m in charge of became more problematic, I started to slide back a bit. I needed to talk to a friend who has not been very available–for completely not-about-me reasons. But I needed her help with the project. I didn’t really want to call because I’d called her home to wish her a happy new year and hadn’t heard back from her. After that I got some news about some mutual friends–and the combination of things just made me feel out of touch. These are way old feelings, and it put me right back in Jr. High (or earlier, or later)–wondering where my place in this group of people is.
It turns out she’d never gotten the message I’d called (so perhaps she’d been feeling ignored by me as well). And she was very gracious and helpful, as she always is, about the project and taking on more than she probably needed to. And then I told her how out of touch I felt–we used to speak on the phone very regularly, at least once a week. That, in combination with the other things with a few of our mutual friends, and in conjunction with the bleakness of the week, made me sad–and childish for feeling that way, let alone expressing it.
I wish I’d had an Aaron to do the speaking for me. I didn’t have to say anything at all. I could have just talked about the project, but, really, I couldn’t. It had been my intention *not* to say anything…but I did want her to know I’d called at New Years. I wanted her to know I still wanted our friendship and wanted to hear/know that our friendship was still important to her as well. And I felt foolish for wanting that.
I am not in the food. Not being in the food means there is nothing between me and my feelings. Some of my feelings suck. But they pass–the good ones and the sucky ones. Last night I did some service and was witness to beauty and spirit and holiness. When I got home and said my prayers of thanks, I was thankful, as I have been these past 6 months, for this program. And last night I was thankful for being open to the possibility of having Gd really in my life because that possibility, that Inner Presence, is what connects me to the rest of the Gdliness in the Universe.
So maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have an Aaron to speak for me. Because maybe then I would be missing out.
© 2011, Raphella. All rights reserved.