I hadn’t spoken with my friend D in a while, until yesterday, when D called with new year’s wishes and to check in. D reads this blog regularly and occasionally calls to talk with me about something I’ve written. (D was the one who got me to start this blog in the first place, since I was horrible about keeping a written diary.)
My last post about being embarrassed to admit that I was afraid of losing my seat in shul caught D’s attention.
Why are you embarrassed to say you want to sit in the same seat at shul?
Because in comparison to everything else, it seems so mundane. So insignificant.
And yet you write–without embarrassment I presume–that having a seat at a table with others for a meal at shul is quite significant. How are they different?
(I hate it when D points out my inconsistencies.)
They are. Let me see if I can explain. Knowing that you have a place to sit, to daven, to be in shul without worrying about taking someone else’s seat or breaking some protocol is something I consider important. So important, that I’m always thinking of people who come in after me, and what if they don’t have a seat? I find myself wanting to make myself smaller or sometimes even to disappear so they can have my seat and won’t have to go through the discomfort I’ve felt. But at meals, which are far less frequent than once a week to begin with, usually everyone else is already seated, so I’m not as worried about people coming in after me.
Rivka, I’ve lost count of the number of assumptions you’ve made in that explanation. It sounds to me like you value having a regular, fixed place to daven, a makom kavua, and you value having a place to sit at a meal where you’re valued as a person and not just a mother. Yet you seem to be saying that you don’t deserve the first and you do deserve the second. I’m curious why you don’t feel you deserve a place in shul?
I don’t know. It just seems like others are more deserving.
Based on what? Do you think G-d wants you to disappear so someone else can have your seat? Do you think the congregation wants that? The rabbi?
I don’t think so either. In fact, I think they all want you to take your seat and inspire others to sit with you.
I don’t know how to do that.
I know my feelings of “deservedness” are related to my history and my depression, not to mention my self-esteem. But even when my head understands that it’s okay to need a fixed place, my heart doesn’t accept that I’m worthy enough.