In whose hands?

Some of us started talking about our deceased coworker, and I mentioned that his death of a heart attack at 42 just furthers my belief that I need to take care of myself. I said this to the coworker in my department who is obese. She has a Y membership and has been maybe four times. The last time was about a year ago. She eats the same way that the dead one does. About monthly she says she “really needs to go back to the Y.” And she never does.

She said “It is all in God’s hands.”

No, it isn’t. We have free will, and sure, Jim Fixx, the guru of running, died of a heart attack. People die when God chooses. But they have a vote in it. They can take care of themselves. As my chiropractor says, we can’t add years to our life, but we can add life to our years.

We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation. This includes our bodies.

The other person in the department smokes constantly, and is out sick a lot.

I’m afraid I’ll be left by myself. I’m afraid they will both die and I’ll be stuck. It takes a long time to train a new person. We joke “It’s all about me” is our phrase in that department, and that sounds self-centered, and it is. But it is true.

But there is something deeper going on.

To not take care of yourself because you think that it is “all in God’s hands” is bizarre. Let’s compare it with the phrase “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” You shouldn’t do something you know to be stupid just to test God.

Honestly, I don’t know why I bother. They are killing themselves, and they know it. But to drag God’s will into it? That takes their own power out of it. It means they are helpless to do anything about it.

What a life of victimhood.

Grief geyser

I’m starting to realize that grief can’t be hurried. Like bread, it needs time to rise. Like food, it needs time to go through you. It can’t be rushed. It has to be processed and come out the other side.

I had a dream that I was in the changing room at the Y. There was a large torrent of water coming out of one of the lockers. Fortunately, it didn’t have anybody’s stuff in it. One of the pipes had burst and water was going everywhere.

I had someone call for help, and a worker knew where to shut off the main water valve.

I’ve come to see this as my grief. It might leak out uncontrollably. Who do I call to turn off the water?

I’ve not cried for my coworker yet. I’m not sure how. I’ve gotten misty-eyed, but no actual tears.

It is weird. Every death is different.

I don’t want to be indifferent and aloof, but I also don’t want to be washed away. I don’t know how to deal with this death. I guess I’m learning how by doing it.

I don’t want to make a big mess. I hate making a mess. I hate being a mess. I don’t want someone else to have to clean it up, to clean me up.

But sometimes grief can’t be contained. I thought it could.

I’ve come to realize there is no express train through the town called Grief.

Travel advice

I was trying to find more Jewish blessings and came across this bit of interesting advice about returning from a trip. This was on the Chabad website, and is by Rabbi Eliezer Wenger. This seems like useful advice for everybody.

1. It is preferable to return from a journey while it is still day.

2. A married man who goes on an extended trip should bring his wife gifts upon his return.

3. Upon returning from a trip, one should not enter his home suddenly. He should notify his family members of his presence by either knocking or calling first.

4. One should not enter his house from a trip while he is hungry. When one is hungry, he is very irritable and may become angry quickly at one of his family members.

I took out this bit of advice because it does not apply to everybody – “One should try to get an aliyah on the Shabbos following his return.” This means that on the Sabbath after you return home, you should try to get called up to read from the Torah. There isn’t a parallel in the Christian community, as the readers are assigned and are never called up randomly from the congregation.

Feminism is sexism

I am not a feminist. I am a humanist. I believe in equal rights for everybody.

I don’t believe that it is fair or just for women to focus only on the accomplishments of women and ignore half of humanity.

I believe that everybody should have access to healthcare and good jobs.

I believe that everybody should be treated fairly and honestly.

I believe that if we focus only on our victimhood we will remain victims. Men are victims too and they have been excluded as well.

For women to have a female only-God is to exclude the male side of God as well. God has no gender.

A woman is being sexist if she only reads books by women, talks only to women, and worships only a female version of God.

It is important if we are going to move forward in this world that everybody be lifted up. We are not going to get anywhere if one group raises itself above another. If women raise themselves up higher than men that they are being just like the man who they say are oppressing them.