Once again it has been an intense week. So much has happened and I have too many thoughts and feelings.
I really have been feeling lonely. I miss my friends and my support system. I want to be able to do things with other people. A few weeks ago, someone asked me why I haven’t started organizations or been as outgoing as I have in the past. At the time I didn’t have an answer, and then I thought it was that I was just not sure where to start. I realized early this week that it is because of not knowing what is next.
There is a lot of talk about the exhaustion and difficulty of making friends, but we don’t talk so often about the exhaustion and difficulty of saying goodbye to friends. Both sides take a lot of energy, which I do not feel like I have right now. And because there is a good chance that I will be moving once again in June, I don’t really want to put in the investment in making friends because once again I will have to say goodbye, feel hurt, and start all over. Part of me wants to know what is next, or at least accept the fact that I might not be going back to where I want to go.
Last year when I went to therapy, I spoke about enjoying being known by strangers. I realize that I don’t have that here either. I walk the streets, take the subway, take the bus – and everyone is a stranger. No one is going to say good morning to me. In many ways I feel invisible. That no one will notice if I am missing or that my existence doesn’t really mean much. I miss speaking to people on the street. I miss being noticed. I miss feeling part of a greater world than my small bubble.
This is not to say that I didn’t feel loneliness in Israel – I did, but it didn’t feel the same. This feels much deeper, where really I am unsure of how to change it. I don’t really know where to find friends or how to start a community. I also am so unsure of what I want…
And then there is the really big news that I got today. I got into the CPE residency that I applied for. When I read the email acceptance my body went numb and all I wanted to do was cry – I think that is what shock is.
On the one hand it is great. It means that I really am finishing school and will have a job. It is a really well respected program and difficult to get into. I think that I am good at being a chaplain. I think that the skills I will learn will serve me well, no matter if I work in a shul, hospital or nursing home. It means that I have a job for at least a year. It means that I won’t have to move to a new city and start over, again. It means that I will not have to prove the legitamcy to my existance . I don’t need to worry about what the RCA, the OU, the Rabbanut or any other body says, because all the hospital cares about is if I can do the work.
On the other hand I’m really sad and terrified. It means that I really am finishing school and will have a job. It means that I am still far from my dream of becoming a pulpit rabbi. It might mean that I am giving up some of the fight for female clergy, as I will be taking the “easy” way out. It means that the past 7 years of studying halacha are for nothing, because my role is to provide pastoral care, not rabbinic knowledge. It means that I will be in New York for another year. It means that I really will not be moving to Israel.
And then on top of that, Friday would be my 7th Aliyahversary. It would be 7 years since I moved to Israel. Talking about Israel and moving to Israel are things that are constantly spoken about and celebrated. Making aliyah was so much part of my identity. But here I am, back in the US. I now am part of conversations talking about dreaming about living in Israel – I had it and gave it up. I was praised and had a party when I moved to Israel, it was something I constantly spoke about – and I did it, but now I am back. In Israel there is a lot of talk about those who move, and then move back to their home country because they couldn’t make it – and now that is me, even though I was feeling settled. I moved and made it my home, and then I had to leave. Normally, I would be celebrating on Friday…but this year, the date hurts. It feels like a reminder of what I had, but also a reminder of failure.
I need something to happen to make things make sense and bring me out of this dark and confusing space.