Everything is impossibly complicated

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Crazy All Around

In my early teens, I became very interested in music as a way of understanding and expressing my feelings, something I felt like I couldn’t do through speech or any other means. I tended to latch onto specific songs that resonated with some part of me (though unfortunately since all non-Christian music, and much of Christian music, was suspect of “leading me astray”, many songs I latched on to I wasn’t allowed to listen to). I always sort of felt that if I could share those songs that really touched me with someone, if we listened to them together, maybe they would understand me and we could connect with each other.

Dad and I fought a lot during that time, something that had been the case going back many years but which definitely got worse in my teens. I remember there was this one song, Crazy All Around (by Christine Glass), that I heard on a Christian radio show and really liked, so I got the CD. Once during a car trip to church on some weeknight with just me and Dad, I got the chance to play my CD in the car, and I was hoping we could enjoy the song together and connect through a shared experience of it. He was quiet for most of the song, but it got to a line near the end “Felt the angel bend and kiss me/ran away and hid in fear” and he exclaimed “What the hell is this!?” I was deeply disappointed; once again I felt like I’d tried to share my feelings, my unique experience of life, and I was rejected. I remember feeling, “Really? Is there nothing I find meaning in that’s pure enough for you, that you can appreciate the beauty of without picking apart any small hint of worldliness you find?” After that, I gave up hope of being able to connect with him through music.

At some point, I don’t know when, I developed a dislike for the song and never listened to it again.

Conversion

This is something I wrote back on June 9th, but for a number of reasons, I haven’t found it easy to post until now.

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A good friend of mine is converting to Judaism. I found out a few weeks ago, but my reactions seem to be really slow. This past Shabbos, everyone at my congregation was working through it, since he had revealed his decision publicly the week prior. It was a really rough Shabbos. The Sunday following, I spent half a day with him, talking about stuff.

I don’t really know how I feel. I seem to feel a lot of things, but they rise to the surface and then disappear into a murky sea of emotions again. I feel really sad. I’m losing a friend, the one I prayed Musaf with on Shabbos, with whom I discussed hard questions of how Jewish theology intersects Christian theology, to whom I could relate openly my theological and personal discouragement. He made the congregation an encouragement, a soothing touch to my troubled soul. He brought life and joy to the Chanukah program, and inspired the use of some very touching Hebrew songs.

I feel discouraged about facing people in the congregation now. I’m too tsetimlt to defend myself against their concern: Is he going to do this too? I feel like the only way to cope right now is to sit very still and try to let everything come to rest. I wish I didn’t need to worry about proving myself when I’ve been left all on my own to figure out how to put my world back together.

What do I do now?

למה עזבתני?

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