Letters to God – Part 11: Planning

Hi God. Here we are, again at the IC unit. And while this time it was not a complete surprise, once again you showed us how we can plan and plan and plan, but things happen when they must happen. We had a great weekend at home, and found ourselves again at the emergency unit on Saturday (but at least not so early in the morning as last time). And after a long wait (time sometimes flies, and sometimes it crawls), nothing “wrong” was found. But because things don’t “just happen”, we stayed at the hospital for some follow-up.

Interestingly, it turned out to be just for the good (as everything is, right?). It turned out that after some days in the hospital, where you can do some “experiments”, there is no need for one of the medications he receives. And not only that, but on the second day at the ward, the neurosurgeons started saying that “if we are already here, maybe we should do the operation that we planned for may? You know, to save you the going out of the hospital and coming back again?”

So yes, we humans have this tendency to plan things, and then reality (and You) comes and decides what will really happen. And it is so hard (at least for me) to change plans. And change them again. But we don’t have a choice.

And talking about planning, in the afternoon we had planned that my wife would stay the night in the IC unit and I would go early to sleep. And I was in the middle of writing this post… But just before I left we were told to move to the surgical ward because our bed was needed by a more urgent case.

Recalculating route. Once again.

Letters to God – Part 10: Memories

source: http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/obama-brain/

These weeks are weeks of memories. First with Pesach, where we remember how we left Egypt. Then the Holocaust remembrance day, where we remember the atrocities that happened during WW2, both what was done to the Jewish people, and for all others that perished for nothing during this time. And this week we remember all of the fallen for the creation of Israel, and those that keep dying so that we can keep on living here.

And because my son keeps forgetting, I have been thinking a lot about memories. You know, since “the incident” back in February, my son’s memory is not working “properly”. He remembers everything before that day, but from that day on, things get blurred. Most times he doesn’t remember the name of the rehab center we are at, not to say the name of the people who are treating him each day (but here I have to say that it is also hard for me to remember their names, because there are many of them, so this may be something normal :-)).

As far as I know, the mechanism of how memories are created in our heads, and how they are retrieved when needed, is one great question mark for us. Our brain is a big mass of cells of many types and we have very little knowledge of how they work and interact (there have been many advances, but we are just starting). And as a friend of mine said, it is a very good question if using the brain we will be able to understand it. Similar (for me) to the what Goedel showed in his incompleteness theorem, where every axiomatic system contains statements that can never be either demonstrated or refuted (put in laymen terms).

But going back to memories, there is a very interesting mechanism going on here. From my personal experience, memories are something we create as a mirror of the world we are living in. But not a perfect mirror. We modify our memories to match our dreams, our hopes, our life. I sometimes remember things one way, the way I wanted them to be, but in reality something different happened. Not so different to make for my mind not to accept the changes, but slightly different. And I unconsciously make these changes so that I remember things as I wanted them to be. Because that is how I am wired.

And back to my son, I am not sure how much of his memories are simply being suppressed because they are unpleasant, and how much because of his injuries. In his place, I would also love to forget most of what has happened in the last two and a half months. I also have many memories that I would like to forget. Because they hurt. Because they are unpleasant. But we have no control on what we remember and what we forget. We only get the final results.

And on the other side of the spectrum, there are things that we forget and we would like to remember. Like that first kiss with our loved one, or the day our kids were born (I have vague memories of these… too traumatic I guess :-)). And there are things that we must remember, like leaving Egypt, like the Holocaust, like the fallen for our country. We must remember even though our mind would like to forget.

Letters to God – Part 9: Remembering

Today in Israel is Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day when we remember the horrors that occurred not long ago in Europe during World War II. I’m positive you are acquainted with what happened during that time, right? And so I’m taking a step back from my personal suffering and going more global than usual, but the questions are more or less the same… Well, it is actually only one question: Why?

It is written that you are a God of justice. But you make it very hard for us to understand what is the meaning of your justice. There were many bad people killed during that war, evil people who wanted to harm, destroy, an annihilate entire nations. But most of them were not like that. Millions of children who did nothing wrong, who just made the mistake of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time. And what about all of the righteous people who died? Those who prayed for you every day and every night, even when they saw the fires near them, even when they could not sleep from hunger and cold, even then they kept on praying. And they prayed until their last minute.

After what I have lived the last two months, I have a better understanding on why they prayed. But I still don’t understand why this is needed from us. Believing in you means that all of this world has a purpose, that we are on a journey to somewhere. Today it actually came to me that the Holocaust should be sadder to non-believer humanists than to believers. Because if you think we humans have evolved over animals, that we have grown to think, things like the holocaust (and other atrocities that keep on going every day) just don’t make sense. But for believers this is just the way that you have set things, and it is good. Sorry, but I don’t see how this can be defined as good.

Oh dear God, please open our eyes so that we can understand all of this suffering and all of this pain. We want a world of love, a world of abundance, a world of peace and quiet. A better world that the one we currently live in.

Letters to God – Part 8: Pesach

We jews live from holiday to holiday. We finish Rosh HaShana (New Year) and start preparing for the fast of Yom Kippur (Day of Attonement). When this one ends we begin building the Succa. After Succot we have a bit of rest, but fairly fast we start thinking of Sufganiot (kind of donuts) for Hannuka. and then some dried fruits for Tu BiShvat, then costumes for Purim, and after this comes the great craziness of Judaims – Pesach.

Every year that Pesach comes I ask myself once again if this is what you meant for us to do. We are told not to have anything that leavens in our houses. But you know, we humans always think we don’t understand what you said, and maybe you also meant that we have to go crazy and buy food like world is going to end, and clean our houses as if we have loaves of bread hidden under the staircases. Oh, and changing all of the dishes, pots, pans… While sitting here at 11pm washing the Pesach dishes, I imagine you looking at us and shaking your head from side to side. But what can we do. This is how you made us.

Every year in Pesach I do my yearly Gefilte Fish for Pesach, and I shared some pictures of it with my friends. But this year I am exempted from doing it, because we are doing the Seder in the Rehab Hospital with my son. So I am doubly happy, both because we can have a family Seder all of us together, and because I don’t have to do any cooking!

But seriously, today I read again the summary of the first operation my son had when we took him to the hospital, and my skin crawls as I understand again how close we were to losing him. Every moment we have with each other is blessed. It is hard to see it this way all the time, but it is the truth. And it takes extreme events like this to make us understand this. And we keep on forgetting it.

Oh well, the dishwasher finished so I have to go and clean some more plates to be ready for the upcoming holiday. Thanks G-d for all the work you have given us. It really makes us happy 🙂