There is an old Yiddish proverb that goes something like this:
.דער מענטש טראַכט און גאָט לאַכט
Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht.
In short, it roughly translates to "Man plans and God laughs".
I have always loathed this bit of witticism. The idea that God would have a hand in the day to day actions of individuals is anathema to me, and even worse, that a caring and compassionate God would purposefully play Russian roulette with people's lives by bringing pain and suffering on a whim, runs counter to my entire belief system. Instead, I choose to believe that God exists in the spaces; a divine presence that remains close by in order to provide support and strength during those times when life turns sour. God is found in the comforting touches and glances of The Husband or in my children's voices. God is in my friends' phone calls and emails. The notion of a vindictive God with a personal agenda is unfathomable. The very idea that we shouldn't have longterm goals or intentions because of what the Divine Spirit might do is extraordinarily defeatist. We may as well just curl up into a ball right now and call it a day.
And yet...I have to admit it...I have been stuck for these past five months. My grief has turned into trepidation and it has caused me to spin my wheels on more than one occasion. I haven't been able to plan for anything further out on the calendar than a medical appointment. There have been more than a few Saturday evenings recently where The Husband and I have looked pitifully at one another and wondered aloud why we didn't think to organize an outing or a dinner with friends. It isn't that I don't want to plan, rather it is born out of a fear of what might happen if I ponder the future with too much gusto.
It was my mother who shook me out of my funk. My mother who has suffered a loss so wounding and visceral that even those closest to her can't completely comprehend it, was the one who categorically stated to me that she was looking at some new travel opportunities. To anybody who knows my mom well knows that this is a sign. She was signalling to me and to the outside world that she needs to get on with her life, even if that idea is wrapped up in a minuscule gesture like looking on the interweb for globetrotting options.
"Life is about the touchstones and the memories we make", she said.
"We have to get on with the business of living."
(And people wonder why I worship and unabashedly adore this woman.)
So, I am back to planning. There will be trips and new experiences; New York this weekend and Newfoundland at the beginning of the summer. There will be simchas and wonderful times ahead this summer and fall celebrating with family and friends. (The marriage of one's child is an amazingly self-reflective event.) There will be new challenges for me to conquer as I embark on the next phase of personal growth and leave my old career behind, and undoubtedly much of all of that will be shared in this space.
And guess what?
I don't hear God laughing at all.