Empathy In a Vise: A Daily Moment of Silence Perhaps

I can’t afford to allow myself to drown in the maddening wave of corona sorrow sweeping the globe, and nursing homes in my backyard.

I can’t live with myself if I don’t expose my gaze to the pain of a friend that mourns her father in isolation; another that waits and waits for his wife to emerge from ventilator hell, and countless faces like them.

I’ve been in the ICU after a terror attack, visiting half living bodies riddled by screws and ball bearings; and with my brother as he took his last breath, and my mother hers.

But there is no internal template for this …

If I allow my heart’s doorway to open just a crack, a deluge of coughing, choking darkness might overtake me, and I won’t be able to laugh with my wife, as I must.

If I don’t allow my heart’s doorway to open just a crack, then do the laughs I share mock the heart and soul I claim to possess?

As a human, just another human in isolation.

What do I do?

To both live, and preserve, my heart.

Today I will try a moment of silence.

It’s something we do here, an attempt to touch the infinite.

On yom hazikaron, remembrance day. Those who fell so that we may live.

On yom hashoah, Holocaust memorial day. Those who were gassed and …

For just a minute.

I will stand in silence, and risk my heart breaking forever.

Only then to retreat. In lingering silence.

To a place where hugs are still legal. Where I can taste and smell, laughter and music. Our kitchen. With my wife and youngest son. And more gratitude than I ever knew existed, while dodging rays of darkness, averting my eyes in self-defense, and returning to the same vise, and melodies, and moment—again—I pray, tomorrow.

About the Author
Shimon Apisdorf has authored ten books that have sold over a quarter million copies and have won two Benjamin Franklin awards. His family moved to Israel in the summer of 2012. His new website is currently under construction.
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