Thursday, March 1, 2018

Death... Questions and Ironies

It's a sad day. A friend of mine's son passed away. He was also a close friend of my son. He was hit by a car 2 weeks ago. He was in a coma and passed away last night on Purim eve. The happiest day on the Jewish Calendar. It's the day we dress up in costumes, drink wine until we are confused about the good guys and bad guys and celebrate redemption from the cold hands of the Persians many years ago (just like any Jewish holiday; people wanted to kill us and we got out of the mess, Let's eat!)

This boy had a problem. He was in treatment at a rehab facility and had been about 6 months sober.

Kids who are using (I don't know what it is that he was doing), could die many different ways. We all unfortunately know some who have. 

Irony of all ironies after working through the hardest challenge of his life, he died by getting hit by a car.

So hard to understand. I feel so much for the parents. As a parent of a child who has gone through a similar story, knowing the torturous pain of dealing with a child that is an addict for years. The pain that comes which watching him go through treatment. The hope that he will now find a way. One month sober, 3 months sober, 6 months sober. The change; the gratitude he has, gives us the hope that he may be on his way to leading a happy and productive life. (I know this isn't important but it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to help your child through a good rehab facility).

To then see your child lost in this way, is an irony that begs for an answer. That the child died on Purim is also an irony that is truly hard to understand.

That said, we can seldom understand. So we pray to a higher power, whatever that may mean to you. 

We get angry, we ask questions and we hope that some entity or being is listening.

I only wish peace, love and happiness from here on out and hope the family gets through this difficult time the best they can. One Day at a Time.

Had to share. Thanks for reading.

With love and care, me

Thursday, June 16, 2016

An article that struck me as worth sharing

I know it's been a while. I wanted to share an article that I thought was poignant relating to the Orlando massacre.

OU message

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"I came out to my wife... A new chapter...."

Is it really 4 years since I came out to my wife? I wrote this post a day after. When I think about it, I almost relive it. The intensity of the pain I felt in that moment was tangible. I was so very close to saying goodbye to the world. I was so close to ending it all... Somehow I found the strength to open up and share. My wife's reaction and our support for each other and our family is what kept us going.

Here is a re-blog of that post.

I came out to my wife... A new chapter....

Friday, January 17, 2014

Eshel Revisited

Today will be the beginning of the Eshel Shabatton where LGBTQ Jews from all different walks of life will get together to show support and love for each other. It is an amazing way to remind ourselves that we are not alone.

Below are links to my posts after last years amazing weekend. This will be my second year. As with Grease 2 and Blues Brothers 2000, its hard to beat the original; I am hoping and confident that this will be my "Dark Knight' or 'Empire Strikes Back'. I will share more about the 2014 experience in weeks to come.

Eshel 2013 - part 1

Eshel 2013 - Part 2

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ambiguous update (But an update nonetheless)

My apologies for the ambiguity of this post. I need to toe the line between bearing my soul and protecting those closest to me.

The last few months have been intense. I have had some amazing highs but some really intense lows. The highs were pretty much tied to one experience that grew in intensity over this period. Even those high's felt short lived as they were laced with complication and confusion. As such, the lows were primarily from the same experience. I have also experienced some lows tied to a number of other personal happenings in my life. The challenges tend to come in bulk for me.

First the high. Connection. When one can share their life with another and have someone to carry their burdens with, it's not just a sharing of the challenge. Rather, the challenges feel diminished. You simply deal. You feel confident. You feel like you can take on the world. You feel like you have ownership of yourself. I felt this at times.

Conversely, when connection is shaky, when your life gets hit by flaky friendships bordering on dishonesty, people who commit and then renig on their commitments, you feel minimized. You feel taken advantage of. You feel weak. Every problem seems to compound. Connection is lost.

The last little bit of my life makes me think of a boxing match. At first you get hit by a jab. You have your hands up trying to protect your face. You may block one or two punches and slow your opponent down. Then you get hit by another jab... and another one. There is blood starting to drip from your nose. Your lip is starting to swell. Next comes an upper cut. Your head starts to spin. You wonder how you got here. You thought you were stronger and up for the fight. You wonder how you ever thought this was a good idea. Your arms get heavy and you start letting your guard down, a layer of sweat escaping your pores. Then comes the left hook. A combination of sweat and blood burst from your face. If you are lucky you hit the ropes on your way down. Either way you end up on the floor while the countdown starts. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4... you struggle trying to get up. The recognition settles in. Your body loses all control as you are painfully humbled. You are down for the count. 3-2-1. You are done.

Every fight you've had seems to come back to you at once. Your heart breaks. You moan and cry. You are lucky to have a small team of trainers that pick you up from the ground. You are still limp though. Your head is playing tricks on you.

You look over and there is your opponent and his team lifting their hands in triumph. With pity in the victors eye, he comes over to mention the obligatory "nice fight". You want to believe the sincerity but as he looks you in the eye you can see him focusing on his next fight. You have a conflicting sense of relief for a moment. Then you again recognize you are beat.

Then there is a moment of clarity....

It may seem like the ones you are boxing are your friends, maybe even your best friend and painfully your family. But when it comes down to it you are battling, sparring and hurting yourself. 

You consider retirement. You want to hang your gloves up. You give it a week or so. You reflect. You tell yourself that there is still a fight in you. You visit your trainer. With a resolve and with the knowledge that there is a lot of pain to come, you say, "I would like to start training once again".

That is where I am at today.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Memo to myself

When I am alone it's okay to feel lonely. 
It doesn't need to be more than that. 
It doesn't mean I will be lonely for the rest of my life. 
It doesn't necessitate action. 
I don't need to remedy the feeling right away. 
It will pass without me doing anything.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

A short prayer

I am a product of my own experiences...

I am prejudiced
I have bias

I am far from objective, and
I will never practice sincere altruism

I project my standards on others, and 
I am clouded by predetermination

As I conveniently succumb to the vision of my ice-cold eye, and worse, I allow my wicked tongue to wander...

I pray with all my heart and soul that the powers of self awareness take over...

and remind me...

Just as I am so pained when being judged by another; 

May I never, ever begin to judge my brother .

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Guest post from a reader... You are not alone

"I am like a eunuch; full of love, hormones and virility, but with nobody to share it with."

I received this anonymously from a reader. I thought it worthy to be posted (with his permission) as this is all too common an experience I witness. While I do receive messages like this all too often, this one was written very well, with class and respect to the reader, Here it is.

Like the creator of this blog, I too am married, frum (religious) .....and gay.

I came across this blog after searching endlessly for some sort of network, some sort of support group, for what I figured must be a problem for a few others out there in the big, wide world as well.

When I finally came across this site, I cried.

The relief that somewhere out there there were others who were going through the same excruciating and hellish path that has been my life, was indescribable.

I ended up making contact with someone on the site - and though we have never met, we regularly catch up, and provide an ear for each other's difficulties.

As cliched as it sounds, the truth is that I knew from very early on that I was not attracted to girls. I had crushes on some of my friends throughout school, and going to Yeshiva was an absolute torment. I came from a real heimishe family, and a very frum kehilla; and exploring and defining my sexuality was a totally foreign concept to me. I refused to recognize that I was created somewhat different to the rest of my peers, only admitting to myself that I had a serious problem which needed sorting out.

I shed copious amounts of tears over the years, beseeching Hashem (God) to hear my pleas and cure my illness. But nothing changed.

I got married and had kids; all the while secretly harboring the real me very deep inside myself, and living life as normally as possible.

But my feelings persisted no matter how hard I tried, I could not change the fact that I was attracted to males and not to females.

Finally, after many difficult years of soul-searching and thinking, I admitted to myself something I'd not allowed myself to think until that moment ........I was Gay. There was no escaping it, no getting away from it.

Instead of davening (praying) for a cure, which obviously was not going to happen, I had to change my tune entirely. I had to accept that this was the way Hashem created me, for reasons only known to him, and that I now needed His help to guide me through this difficult and rocky terrain.

But one question I didn't have an answer for, and nor do I today - is why Hashem would put me in such a compromised position and give me the nisayon (challenge) of homosexuality, while at the same time decreeing it an abomination and unacceptable.

A number of years have passed since that revelation, all of them difficult. While on the outside I live a normal, happy life, inside I am crushed. Each and every day is a struggle. There is no permissible outlet for people like me. There is no physical relief offered for all my emotion and frustration to be poured into. I am like a eunuch; full of love, hormones and virility, but with nobody to share it with. My life is a lonely one, one in which I tread a singular path not knowing whether the man davening next to me, or the one learning across the table from me, is similarly afflicted or not. And there is no way for me to find that out, to share my struggles with a fellow sufferer in my vicinity.

So I reach out to all of you, with the hope that we can become both family and friend, and help each other navigate the supremely difficult path of being a frum, gay, yid.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Live to Love

I was getting frustrated that my iPhone has been constantly auto correcting the word 'live' to 'love'.

Then it dawned on me as to what a powerful correction it actually is.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A mothers suicide

Please note that I am copying this from a friend's Facebook page. I have not read through every link nor am I endorsing any viewpoint. It is important to read and come to your own conclusions.

Original Facebook Post

This week a young mother in the US committed suicide. Deb Tambor was her name. Apparently she took her own life due to the ongoing pressure from her former ultra-Orthodox community who did everything they could to deny her access to her children. Her alleged crime? Going OTD (Off the Derech) – becoming secular. Her own family turned against her. It has been claimed that even her own father testified against her.

It is important that people know the common struggles of leaving the ultra-Orthodox community. Since Deb’s recent death it is becoming clear that there are many others in her predicament. Which is why I can’t remain silent. We weren’t able to save Deb. Hopefully we can save others. There are never any grounds to justify this type of behaviour, especially when the name of religion is invoked.

The following are some articles about this sad story, which some have described as murder:

RIP Deb.

Please seek help – from family/friends/professionals – before it is too late.