Hi everyone, THANK YOU for the seriously excellent insightful comments on my last post. Writing it out and sharing the process with you put me in such a great frame of mind on this trip. It was one of the best vacations of my life. Processing all the weirdness before I ever got n the trip meant that it didn’t have to come up almost at all while I was there. I enjoyed everyone so much and I took plenty of time to be by myself whenever I wanted to.
We’ve always camped in tents before. Now, we’re totally converted to cabins. It was such a pleasure to have a bed to go back to at night and for each family to have a space to take care of their kids. It was great to have a refrigerator and a table and some shelves. It felt more manageable and less physically taxing leaving us plenty of energy to swim, hike, play ping pong and basketball and make fires with the kids.
One night I wrote in the kid’s notebook – I have one for each of them that I’ve been writing in – along with photos since they were born. I used to write every few months, now I get to all of them about once a year so that felt really good.
The last day of the trip we had each of us, including the kids get up at lunch and speak about their favorite part of the trip as well as saying a specific thank you. It was a great way to cap off the trip and contain the moment.
One night I walked with my daughter and my niece to the darkest most remote area so we could lay down and look at the stars – until we got freaked out by the sheer blackness of the night.
We saw raccoons and deer and snakes and frogs and fish and chipmunks and got our water from the pump and hung our clothes on the line and swam and boated and fished and ate.
I bless each and every one of you that you should have the opportunity to get away and rejuvenate like this. No emails, no phone calls, just you and the trees and the people you love.
Being on vacation was a paradoxical experience. We were acutely aware that our brothers in Israel are in a dangerous war and that as we sat there young men’s lives were at stake.
We prayed for Israel’s well being and said the names of the injured soldiers together in our prayers at dinner. The days were full of laughter and conversation but in the quiet moments we could feel the dual realities playing out and we hoped that our time together would find favor in G-d’s eyes. After all, the greatest thing is Shalom, peace. Having a family getting along and making time for one another gives G-d tremendous pleasure.
The truth is that out in the woods we didn’t feel the war. We lived in blissful ignorance to a degree. And as I sat there fantasizing about moving out of the city and into the peaceful woods I realized that I couldn’t.
I was so peaceful there – but being peaceful is not the reason we’re put on this earth. We’re here to reveal our true essence through giving.
It was an AHA moment for me. You see, every time we used to pass farmland I used to feel Oh shucks, I want that alternate reality. I feel trapped in community life because I don’t have that peace and quiet and wholesomeness that I know I would love.
Now I realize that yes, I would love it and can have it occasionally , but there’s a reason that Jewish life is built around community, not isolation. We need to be involved with the world.
In my cabin fantasy I’m having a lovely time but I’m limited in who I can give to. I’m mostly just taking care of myself. I want to visit there (a lot!!) but I don’t want to build a life there.
Anyway, it’s great to be back – I’ll be posting another post back to back with this one – its unrelated actually about henna – but its one I’ve been meaning to post for a while so keep your eye out for it.
all the best, Rivka Malka