chronic pain/fibromyalgia · friends · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism

Loss & The Three Weeks

Someone gave me the heads up about ButYouDontLookSick.com recently and I wanted to link a good post I found there “The Pain of Disease and the Triumph of Togetherness”:

An excerpt:

“There’s a pain that can be worse than any physical disease.

It’s the loneliness you feel when you see your friends go out and do things without a second thought and how that is an impossible dream for you. How the simple act of attending class or going out to supper becomes a mountain you just cannot scale, because of the varying weights that disease dangles along with it. It is so difficult when you are all alone and those you love are where you want to be and they don’t even understand the magnitude of how much you would love to have that normalcy to be there. I would love to be able to not deal with a single consequence and only reap the rewards of fulfilling that task with them, but I can’t always do that….”

I was telling a friend recently that I lost many friends when I decided to convert. They wanted to get away from the “religious fanatic” as much as possible. Then I lost friends when I left my teaching career. Our schedules just no longer matched up. But what made the most impact was fibromyalgia. Some of my friends still don’t understand that schlepping downtown to hang out means I’m making a great sacrifice. Schlep today and it might be pain all day tomorrow. Or fatigue. Or the calm before the storm. I am just tagging along on the roller coaster rides that are the whims of my body. And it sucks that I can’t devote as much time as I’d like to my friends without “paying for it” later.

I think the post above really articulates what it’s like internally to live with chronic pain. It’s not just your body that hurts.

I went to Aish class on getting into the mood for Tisha B’Av. It promised that we would “learn how to emotionally connect with the most painful day in Jewish history (in a good way).” I’ve never really had a problem connecting with Tisha B’av. I just wanted to study it and talk about it, so I went to the class. In fact, I had already attended a class on Tisha B’Av the night before. In the second class, I spoke up and mentioned that it’s easy to connect to the day when you’ve experienced some sort of loss. I said that it’s easy to transfer that grieving process to the grieving process we’re meant to experience during The Three Weeks.

On Tisha B’av, I find myself thinking of all the losses I’ve experienced: the loss of my parents, the loss of my health, the loss of my little sister and so many others. And like the teacher offered during class, I like to imagine that if the temple were rebuilt and the Messiah finally clocked in, there would be a world without these kinds of losses. And as I learned in the first class I attended, I now also look to all the destruction on Tisha B’av, all the desolation in my life, and hope for the future, celebrate renewal and the time to “buck up” and rebuild.

Okay, I promise to post some more funny stuff soon!

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