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My death wish

When leaving the house can feel like a game of Russian Roulette, life takes on a certain clarity

Life can be so uncertain, especially in this volatile region known as the Middle East. It is an odd existence, residing in this tiny beloved country of ours. I travel around my beautiful neighborhood lined with palm trees and modest homes adorned with draping bougainvilleas and all seems so peaceful. As I venture out, distancing myself from the breathtaking sandy mountains that surround me, I pass herds of sheep, goats and sometimes even tens of camels that still make my modern urban mind marvel. My heart fills with joy and appreciation for every inch of land I am fortunate to traverse and I try never to take it for granted.

As I make my way out of my neighborhood to the highway I hold my breath and say a prayer. Each time I pass the surrounding Arab neighborhoods, I feel as if I am playing Russian Roulette. Will I be in the next headline? How will my kids manage if I’m gone? So much I haven’t yet done. How will I be remembered? Countless times I think, I must write out a will. Not the usual last will and testament. I did that already. I want to make clear as can be to my family, friends and the world who I am, what my wishes, hopes and dreams are, and all the things I would never have been able to say and do. I lose myself in my thoughts until, by the grace of G-d, I make it to my destination…and back.

Somehow, even though I’ve gone through this numerous times, I have yet to sit down and write myself out. I’m not sure why. Could be an “ayin hara” thing or maybe it’s just too emotionally difficult…or maybe denial. Who really wants to face the reality that death lurks waiting to lay claim to the next unsuspecting person — and that it could be you? But it’s true. It’s possible and we all know it. And after all is said and done, what is really important? What isn’t fleeting? What has true value? What lives on? Almost everything we make a big deal over is nonsense in the end.

All I really want to leave is the most precious things that reside in my heart. I reflect on all the people I know and love and I wish I could bottle my feelings in a time capsule; One they can open whenever they need love, compassion, faith, and kindness. With these, life is enduring, meaningful and powerful. If this were all I could leave in this crazy upside down world, then I could truly rest in peace.

Ahem! That said, I am not ready to go, so I will shatter-proof my windows, arm myself, pray and stay strong-willed. I will keep determined and faithful, knowing good wins in the end, but, most importantly, I will live in joy and gratitude every possible second because life, no matter how fleeting, just like the bougainvilleas, is ever so beautiful.

About the Author
Aliza Lipkin is a firm lover and believer in her country, her people and her G-d. She moved from the land of the free (America) to the home of the brave (Israel) 10 years ago and now resides with her family in Maaleh Adumim.