and the unexpected answer

At Shabbat dinner the other night, a guest who is exceptional at asking questions without much downtime, threw out a soft one at me. “What will you miss the most?”

I am sure she expected me to say something like, “Oh, the people here. I will miss my friends and family so much.”

Or maybe something more like, “My home. After all, we’ve lived here for 36 years! That’s longer than I ever imagined being in one place. So many memories!”

Both very very true. But that’s not what I said.

Perplexed but not nonplussed, I took a bit of a moment to answer.

“Convenience. Washed lettuce. I will miss the convenience of not spending so much time and energy washing greens of all kinds.”

And that got the conversation safely off of me to a neutral ground of how wonderful the produce is in Israel, and so yes, it’s worth the extra work. Sort of. Except when the produce is so full of sand that it’s not worth that sense of why am I doing this kind of anguish. This is known as יֵאוּשׁ; despair. That’s the word that’s used when you are working on something for so long until that moment, that impossible-to-anticipate exactly when-moment, that you absolutely cannot know when in advance, until it hits you.

Which may have been somewhat close to what I was feeling in the moment of that particular conversation, but I jest.

[just a bit]

So, of course, with all answers, there is a kernel of truth, as much as one may skirt around in any other direction. But the convenience here is a much broader one than the washed greens; it’s the convenience of knowing. That includes the convenience of not thinking; walking over to your cabinet and pulling out something because it’s exactly where you put it away; finding a book that you put away in exactly a certain shelf; pulling out that picture/paper/any other item from the drawer/cabinet/computer file because you put it there. No searching necessary.

I am a spatial learner.  I need to know where things are. Anyone who has been at my house over the last few months would know that this has all been shot to bloody hell and beyond, for there is very little in its place, and my memory for where things have been moved is surely been over-tested. I am so over the line with putting things away that I am managing to move around all the boxes and the stuff and the inconvenience of all of this moving. Moving boxes, moving memories, moving reality.

So imagine my surprise on reading this article in my morning feed from Scientific American the other day; Sometimes Embracing Emotional Distress Is the Best Medicine. The article supports the value of working with the stress that comes and then learning to let it go.

I will hold onto my boxes of stress for just a little bit longer, I suppose, and then I will be grateful to let them go.

Because there is so much more to learn.

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