20 Cheshvan 5777 – Day by Day

What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again.  There is nothing new under the sun.

I am sinking into the rhythm I had felt around this time a year ago, the damning repetition that drives one mad.  But a full work schedule is necessary for the time being.  The illusion of being so far from home is, again, a daily reminder of my purpose.  Don’t let habit rule you– leave as soon as you can.

As the day of my departure looms, I mull over the years that have led to this season. It is vastly different than I had imagined, but my heart still swells with that comforting anticipation one feels when they dream of their future. I remember the first time I landed in Israel, that citrus breeze rippling through my taxi’s window taking me to my weekend’s stay at a Tel Aviv beachfront hotel; that is almost what I feel now.  The elating vindication of being lost in a distant whim.

However, this time is refreshingly different than my second arrival in this past year, during which I felt blasé.  I landed knowing I had a mission to learn Hebrew as fast as possible, but in those five months it could only be a taste.  I wasn’t there as a citizen.  That changes in a matter of weeks.

It is so good to feel that passion begin to resurface, the workings of a long-lasting hope fulfilled. It is the time to give life its proper name.

As I’ve hinted in my previous post, my focus has slackened when I arrived back in the states, and my mentality has been consistently challenged. It threw me into the brutal wake of a depression I’ve been since battling upward.

Each morning that tempts me to sleep in an hour later, I fight; I throw myself on the cheap Ikea rug at my bedside, and immediately begin pounding push-ups without prior stretching.  My body stands on stilts above the rug, as I shove encroaching thoughts into a figurative bag.

Everything is meaningle

Lower.  Push.

Is this behavior manic?  Maybe? I feel it’s necessary.

I need to prepare, to thrash the chemicals in my head out of order so they can rearrange.  I crave discipline, and it is so hard without accountability.

One morning while working at the coffee shop, I met a man with a thick Australian accent. I remembered my friend Daniel, currently serving in the Nahal Brigade, and all the stories he’d told me of his upbringing in the land down under. I asked this man where he’s from, he said New South Wales. He pointed out the Star hanging around my neck, and we found our connection.

“I served in an undercover unit in Southern Lebanon.”
“No kidding,” I couldn’t contain my shock, such a small world for Jews! “…when did you serve?”
“While the US were tied up in Desert Storm, and Saddam was launching SCUD’s over Israel. It fucked me man, I’ve been seeing therapists for years. It really fucked me.”

The conversation turned down a somber road, but the enthusiasm in his tone revealed his contagious sense of hope. His upward battle? I fastened a hopper into the La Cimbali and began pulling his espresso.

“What is it you want to do?”
Tzanchanim.”
Tzanchanim, and did you have your Tsav Rishon?”
“No, I haven’t made aliyah yet.”

He told me stories of his time serving as a Paratrooper in a branch of Nahal, which admittedly confused me. But these reconnaissance units generally lack jurisdiction; being the best of the best, they are pliable to the army’s will. Wherever they have a use for a special unit, the army finds a way to bend the rules.

“I was deployed so quickly, I didn’t even have time to do my jumps.”
“You didn’t get your wings?”
“Afraid not mate, but I was in and out so quickly it didn’t matter.”

He wrote his name and number on a ripped wedge of newspaper and gave it to me.

“Please call me, I want to help you as much as I can before you leave.”

Actions carry varying consequences.  Your world could be falling apart around you, and you can sit and map out the origin of each and every blame.

But what of inaction?  Wallowing in self-pity and sulking about your day, unloading your problems onto others’ shoulders?  Asking why and why again?

Does inaction, too, have a consequence?

The universe is objectively and indiscriminately just.  Ze mah she’yaish, it is what it is, deal.  You are neither Evil nor Good.  You just are.  He just is.  You may be the most unfortunate soul on the face of the earth, objectively undeserving of every calamity that has befallen you; like Job and worse, this time not bound by the devil’s pact with G-d.

But if you choose to do nothing, the consequence is nothing, and more.

I have believed in this for as long as I can remember.  But I feel I haven’t begun living it until now.

This is will.

Regardless of vying conditions, your boots don’t just stand there, they push through the mud.

Chasing after meaningless wind.

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