Sunday, May 25, 2008
Where authors and readers come together!
Book Two (UNDER CONSTRUCTION) ... My Molochim
The years leave shadows behind as they pass. They can mask as much as they reveal. Only by probing beyond these shadows can we really begin to explore the meanings of our lives.
Having to live my life without Ben has awakened my natural predisposition to explore the hidden interstices of life.
Personal tragic loss arouses our curiosity and, perhaps, enhances our perceptiveness to successfully explore our own existentialism.The challenge before us is to climb out of the well into which loss has cast us. Seizing the opportunity to live life after surviving loss is within our reach as long as we do not succumb to any number of temptatious escapes that lure us into complacency with their deceptively false promises.
If we numb ourselves with compulsive eating, abuse of alcohol, surrender to melancholia or to any number of other addictive behaviors, we will miss the restorative opportunities to live our lives on a higher plane which paradoxically ... loss offers us. The higher we climb toward the zenith of a skyscraper, the farther and more clearly we can see. The haze has been lifted.
The common ground of experiences on which our lives stand is fairly broad. Many readers, for example, will smile approvingly if I mention the plastic covers on our grandmothers’ sofas to which our legs stuck when we were kids. Do you remember that? It was a time when the sofa, I suppose, was valued more for its pristine, almost ritual cleanliness than its utility.
In writing this book, I have sought to recall and redefine who I was, am and have become since November 22, 2000, the day Ben died now nearly eight years ago. One involuntarily becomes identified as a bereaved parent. No matter who he was before calamity befell him, the catastrophe of bereavement overwhelms all previous identities. Parental bereavement identifies me as someone less than a whole person.I hope to restore my identity as a whole person by recalling and crediting my molochim, the spiritual mentors in my life both past and present.
Each one of them is singularly mine-just as yours are your own. They are unique to each of us, like our fingerprints.Have you ever wondered how it is our molochim, our angels, enter our lives when they do? Although their presence may be fleeting as sometimes happens, the impact they have upon our lives can be and often is forever."I wonder why it was Mr. Gallo, my eighth grade civics teacher, who turned out to be one of the molochim in my life, instead of Mr. … uh, well, I can’t recall his name, but I think he taught English or something like that?"
There is really no one satisfactory answer. One can ascribe it to random forces, coincidence or happenstance. Perhaps, Mr. Gallo possessed special gifts that were meant for my life too.Now I do recognize that there will be those readers who will find this contention farfetched, fantastic, improbable and certainly improvable. Furthermore, I agree with all of those criticisms without changing my belief that we do have molochim in our lives.
They are directed in their work by The Aibishter who sends them to help and guide us along life's path at certain points in time. Think about that. You have your own.Molochim teach us life’s lessons by the power of their example. They transmit essential values. Think of them in terms of a relay race. Do you remember those from high school? The key to winning this brief but especially intense race lies in the efficiency with which the baton is passed from one runner to the next.
Of course, speed is essential, but let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that the running speed of each team is approximately the same. The variable, the factor that will determine the winner, becomes the precision of the relay itself. So it is with our molochim whose contributions over time to our sense of self are cumulative and interrelated. Everyone has them in his life. Or if you like, their effect upon us might also be compared to the interrelatedness of the building trades in the construction industry. The work of each is a prerequisite for the next to be able to do his job.
Think back to the most influential people in your life-those who shaped your character, your ethics, your sense of morality, right from wrong, what did these parents, teachers, spouses, clergymenor friends have in common that enabled them to have such a formative impact on you?
The answer is simple: each gave more than he took; each added to, rather than detracted from, the construction of self.
We interact with innumerable people throughout our lives, but only a handful leave impressions that not only do not fade with time but assume ever greater importance as the years pass.
What I find fascinating about the memories of our molochim is they needn’t have said or done anything extraordinarily different or special. Perhaps it was nothing more than a favored figure of speech of theirs you've adopted, a certain mannerism performed habitually or a smile and welcoming manner for all whom we encounter during the course of our daily lives.
We should bear in mind all molochim are teachers by definition although we needn’t have sat in their classrooms. Molochim come from all walks of life. They are our parents, children, spouses, aunt, uncles, friends, clergy and, on occasion, strangers with whom we may interact for but a brief time.We owe each of them but primarily their sender a debt of gratitude.
I love them all in different ways but for the same reason.
One does not choose his molochim. Suffice to say a lifetime later, whether my interactions with them were short-lived or extended, I remember each as if it were still yesterday. I may not have known then, but I do recognize now that the experiences of our interactions have been among my life’s companions.
Molochim do, as you are probably already aware, leave deep impressions much like those of an artist’s handiwork upon modeling clay. My hope is you will be left with an angelic reflection of the impressions my molochim have had on me. Perhaps my stories will cause you to reflect upon those in your life.
Please do keep in mind my molochim and yours are human beings, and I ascribe angelic identity to them metaphorically. However, I have no doubt in my belief that they are sent as agents of The One Above.