So, like everyone else in this country, I’ve been waking up every morning with a clenching in my stomach, terrified to see the morning news headlines, fearful for yet another funeral announcement. And all my friends and I seem to be able to talk about is how we are all dealing with our fears. Do we flash our enemies the proverbial bird and go about our business, or are we subconsciously staying closer to home, finding excuses not to go out? Never in my life have I used the excuse of ‘having to do laundry’ in order to pass up the opportunity to meet a friend for lunch, or venture into Jerusalem to just hang out. But if I’m being brutally honest with myself, I have definitely noticed my penchant for staying closer to home these last few months.
Just two days ago, my husband and I drove into Jerusalem on highway 443 to have dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in honor of our 23rd anniversary. It’s especially at times like these that we need to celebrate any and every occasion in our lives. To find excuses to smile, laugh, remember the great times and share the most amazing chocolate brandy mousse over candlelight and some good wine. With the indiscriminate violence that seems to be never ending, every missed moment to celebrate life is just that – a missed moment. So we did. And then, when it was over, we were back on the road, heading home on the same highway we take all the time – our conduit to both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – only to discover that not one day later, a young boy of 18 stopped on the side of the same road only to lose his life.
And then this happened. I’ve been having trouble with one of my ears for quite a while and finally got an appointment with an ear nose and throat. I was offered the first available appointment with an Arab doctor at my local clinic. I’ve been treated many, many, many times by Arab doctors in both my kupah and in Terem and hospitals all around Israel. And was always given the same high quality and caring treatment. So I thought nothing of it and gladly took the appointment. But then, as I sat in his office a few hours later and he told me he would have to use a special tool to remove whatever it is that is blocking my ear drum, the first thought that entered my head was that he could take that tool and jam it into ear and damage me for life. Or worse. The thought ran through my head in a split second – it wasn’t something I had taken the time to think about or ponder. It just ran like a Mack truck through my brain, a horror movie of brutal images, and sent pinpricks of fear up and down my spine. He began explaining things and brought me back to the present and I focused on him once again. As it turned out, he informed me that he could indeed remove what was stuck inside but that it would be very painful. He recommended I use special drops for several days to loosen up what was stuck and gave me a prescription for the drops and proceeded to make another appointment for me. I instantly felt guilty for having that gut reaction. He had taken an oath to do no harm and he was doing his utmost to keep up his end of the deal. He was trying to keep this whole incident pain-free for me while I was thinking about the ease with which he could do me serious harm.
And yet, this was my first thought, my gut reaction. I couldn’t help it even if I wanted to.
I hate the physical violence of what this war against us is causing – seeing footage of bloodstains on the ground, and seeing my people bandaged and hurting while lying in hospital beds around the country is heartwrenching, but our enemies are not just stopping there. As if the violence isn’t enough, they are screwing with our heads, our emotional state and our psyche just as much.
When will our thoughts not run to worst case scenario?