Now I must address the feeling I have been trying to avoid since the last post.
My mind wants to find easy origins: not enough sleep, going without Lunesta for one night, hormone changes, no view of the sun in the sky today. But none of these seem right because this is a pervasive, encompassing feeling. It led me to select certain books over others from the library this morning. It determined which articles and blogs I’ve read today. It has kept me from wanting to answer the phone when it rings, even when the caller is a friend.
I feel it in my shoulders and upper arms, like a physical longing for a hug or the need to cradle a baby. I feel it in my chest, tight and compressed like I know something is looming on the horizon but I can’t see it yet. I feel it in my stomach, a sort of dread as if I know the truth is going to be dragged out of me one way or another but it will ultimately be a relief. I feel it in my legs, wanting to run from this but knowing there is nowhere to go.
It isn’t a sadness, exactly, but I can feel tears nearby. It reminds me of the way I feel sometimes when I see a TV ad like this Hallmark commercial.
It isn’t depression. There is definitely hope there, not hopelessness.
It isn’t loss, I don’t think. I haven’t lost anything recently, big or small, but it does feel like I sometimes do when I remember someone close who is no longer living.
It isn’t gratitude, but there is an element of thankfulness. I read today something my rabbi wrote recently (not to me specifically) about accepting each other’s humanity–rabbis and congregants–and all that entails, and I was so overcome with this feeling that I momentarily felt weak.
It isn’t fear, but there’s definitely something there that I’m afraid of.
It is a feeling that flares up when I think about friendship and the sacrifices we make willingly–even eagerly–for those close to us. It is similar to how I feel when I hear about a police officer losing his life while protecting someone else.
It is how I sometimes feel–if I am lucky–in shul, davening and suddenly overcome with a need to convey through my prayers, Thank you, and I’m so sorry, and I miss you when I’m not paying attention.
I hear others around me, the whisper of silent prayers, and I know there are others here in pain and in mourning, those experiencing gratitude and relief and the realization of long-held dreams. And everyone has brought these parts of themselves to this one place on this one day to share, however privately or publicly, with G-d.
And I see glimpses of this humanity in action: one man trusting enough–or hurting enough–to weep openly and consoled by the man next to him. One woman surrounded by others, some of whom are offering comfort and others who are supporting her simply by being present. One exhausted mother relieved temporarily of her active children by a few teens who offered to help. One elder repsectfully helped to a seat. One rabbi passing by a congregant on his way to somewhere else, then stopping, returning to the congregant, and asking, are you okay?
I see this and I am humbled and moved beyond words. It occurs to me that this is what it’s all about. Whatever it is, it is present here, now.
My husband called me as I was writing this post and I answered the phone and the display said CONNECTING before I put it to my ear.
What I am feeling has something to do with connection. Something deeper than community, more complex than love. It is seeing that connection, knowing that connection, having experienced that connection and also the loss of it when I needed it. It is wanting a constancy of that connection. It is recognizing that I need this connection in my life and knowing all too well what it’s like to not feel it. It is hoping, struggling, craving, longing, physically and spiritually yearning.
I still don’t know exactly what I’m feeling. But apparently it has something to do with seeking G-d.