Month: January 2018

Will I Ever Love Israel Again?

love Israel again

I moved to Israel in 1997, a starry-eyed 20 year old. And I loved everything about the country! Like an infatuated teenager, I ignored anything and everything that was bad or complicated about Israel, and just soaked in the holiness and camaraderie of being with my people in my homeland. — I want to love Israel again, I truly do. I want to walk around mesmerized by the finer qualities of Israel and Israelis, and to be able to overlook the minor complications of the country, since they are overshadowed by the great aspects.

But I don’t. And I don’t know how to again.

Right now, a bit over a year after my return, I feel like I’m still in survival mode. Or arguably avoidance mode. Instead of confronting the many things that irk me, I’m seeking ways to not have anything to do with them, whether it be by walking everywhere to avoid the stress of Jerusalem bus rides, or embracing online grocery shopping because every time I step out of the grocery store I’m trembling with frustration.

I want to take this moment to scratch the surface of why I fell in love with Israel my first time here, and what’s different now. Perhaps someone reading could help me get through all this, and maybe regain my earlier love.

I’m going to look at five reasons I loved it here in the past, and how things have changed for me personally.

1) Where I Came From

When I moved to Israel the first time, I came from New York City. New York is infamous for being extremely expensive, not having all that much room, and the classic NYC aggressive attitude. So a transition to Israel is not that much of a transition at all. The major cities here have apartments that are small and in lousy shape, and are way too expensive for what you get. And Israelis are notoriously rude and aggressive.

However, Jerusalem is giant and cheap in comparison to crazy ole New York. And the ridiculous driving and tough as nails attitudes prepares you for the rigors of Israel life.

This time around I moved to Jerusalem from Kansas City, kind of a paradise hidden in the middle of the US. My apartment was big, beautiful, and dirt cheap. Everyone in Kansas City is helpful and friendly. With each day of living in such a society, the culture shock of stepping into the Israel danger zone grows more and more challenging.

2) Age and Responsibility

I’ve often quipped that Israel is a fantastic place to live, so long as you have no responsibilities. And that is certainly true.

When I moved to Israel the first time, I was living the college student life, followed by several years in various yeshivas (schools of religious study). Even when I served in the Israeli army, life was mostly easy. But then I got married, had a kid. That’s when I rapidly started seeing the other side of Israel. The responsibility side. I started seeing holes in the system, and recognizing how far behind Israel was on so many levels. And how expensive it is!

Running into a little shop to get a snack is easy. Grocery shopping in Israel is quite hard. Living at a dorm cannot get any easier. The rental experience here honestly couldn’t be more challenging. And the list goes on and on.

This second time around it’s all responsibility, all the time. Four kids, work, lots of bills, and having to navigate all the crazy in a language I’ve far from mastered. When I moved here as a kid, learning Hebrew was a hoot. It was a hobby. Now it can literally be a matter of life and death.

Israel might be amazingly fun. But who has time for that? Life and responsibility have taken over, and in that realm, it’s all work and no play in the Holy Land.

3) Religion

Judaism is the backbone of Israel. When I came to here the first time, I was in awe every single day. Whether it be spiritual experiences at the Western Wall, walking down the street and seeing all the menorahs during Channukah, or the years I spent studying in yeshivah, everything was so incredible to me. I soaked it all in, and appreciated everything.

Loving everything about Judaism makes living in Israel much easier. You can justify all the garbage, and just bask in the holiness.

But I got older. And I got jaded.

When I go to the Western Wall, I feel nothing, except for how crowded and noisy it is. The menorahs have ceased to impress me and I don’t have the patience or energy to sit and learn for hours like I used to.

And because I no longer have that religious fervor, all the challenges of Israel stand out much more strongly than they used to. I don’t overlook anything, and all the many complications frustrate me to no end.

4) Jewish Identity and the Zionist Spirit

In a similar vein, I’ve lost that pure Zionist alacrity that made living in Israel not just incredible, but a fulfilled desire. An accomplished mission.

Again, it’s so easy to overlook Israel’s flaws when you’re simply enamored with the notion that you’ve finally returned to where you belong.

Furthermore, over the years I came to really appreciate what it means to have a Jewish identity outside of Israel. Simple actions (keeping kosher, wearing a Star of David, etc) are much too easy in Israel. They come with zero risk, and thus feel less rewarding.

Anything one does to identify as proudly Jewish outside of Israel comes with challenges. Those challenges make you a stronger person with a more refined Jewish identity. In Israel, you have to do much, much more to prove to yourself that you’re dedicated and caring, which can often be a slippery slope toward fanaticism.

I do not begrudge anyone’s powerful identities in Israel. I just wish them close personal relationships with people who can assist them to see who they are and who they are becoming, when then cannot do so for themselves.

5) Friendships

Finally, the thing I was most looking forward to in my great return to Israel was friendship. I found that my initial experience was so amazing due not only to the sheer numbers of amazing friends I had made, but by the depth of those friendships, and how quickly companions became very trusted, important parts of my life.

But everything’s different now.

When I first lived in Israel, I was always part of some time of framework. School, job, army, small community. Making friends was effortless. Everything was right there, and there was little pulling my attention away from socializing. But now I work from home. I pay the rent, buy groceries, clean my apartment. I’m extraordinarily busy, and frankly rather tired. And I just don’t have the energy to start over again. And the fact that people constantly seem to move away doesn’t do wonders for my motivation either.

So here I stand.

I live with my 14-year old son. He doesn’t like Israel. He constantly talks about wanting to leave.

I tell him the truth, and what I try telling myself every single day. We live here now. I could have taken a job in another city in America and we could have ended up in a community we didn’t like. It’s no different. Just farther. And wherever we are, we are responsible for our own happiness, and need to do whatever it takes to enjoy the community we’re in.

That being said, most people in the world have some say over where they choose to live. My son and I did not, at least not without terrible sacrifices that I will never make.

I so badly want to love it here and I so badly want to regain that religious spirit and Zionist passion. I so badly want to figure out how to make things work, and get out all the time and meet my amazing neighbors. And I truly want to put my complex past behind me, and move forward without bias and with a keen optimism.

Will I ever love Israel again?

 

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Posted by jaffeworld in Israel, 0 comments

Planting and Building: Raising a Jewish Child (Book Review)

Jewish Child
I recently finished reading Planting and Building: Raising a Jewish Child, a translation of Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe’s original. It was a pretty solid, concise read. The author is extremely honest, often stating principles at odds with the accepted practices of his community, principles important for any parent, regardless of religion or religiosity. I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moments, with a bit of my own commentary.

1) Thinking About The Future

“If you force him into a different track, one inappropriate for his nature, he will indeed listen to you now, and you won’t notice that any damage has been done… when he matures and no longer fears you, he will no longer listen to you.” (p. 28)

I have a friend who used to pressure his son to go with him to his synagogue. When the son was older, he was a fantastic, God-fearing young adult… who never wanted to set foot in that particular synagogue again.

We as parents can so often think that our coercive or intimidating methods are effective. But we are being wildly short sighted. The long term result is almost inevitable failure.

This would be like the teacher who sees the child sitting quietly in the classroom after being angrily chastised. The teacher might feel pride and joy at their brave accomplishment. How does that teacher feel when the student grows old and still feels angst toward school in general, and that teacher in particular? How does that teacher feel when he learns two decades later that this student still avoids that subject matter, since it just makes him feel the pain of the classroom?

We must learn to look at the future of our children, as daunting as a task it might be. We must sometimes sacrifice immediate results for far more important, long-term goals.

2) Screaming At Children

“Screaming at a child is as bad as, or perhaps worse than, spanking a child… when a father screams at his son, the child is so terrified that he begins to tremble… True, it is difficult to control oneself: When the father returns home… tired and hungry, and of course the children want  to jump on him… the children refuse to go to bed… a father might get angry and begin to yell… Yes, it is very difficult to control oneself in such a situation. Nonetheless, screaming damages.” (p. 37)

I am thoroughly intrigued by the notion that causing fear can be as if not more damaging than actual physical violence. But not terribly surprised.

Bullying: Boys vs. Girls

I’ve often quipped as a teacher that girl bullying is infinitely worse than boy bullying. Boys generally bully with their fists. For sure it’s not good, but it’s easy to spot when it’s happening, the damage is usually temporary, and there are countless ways to counteract this, including learning to fight, learning to stand more confidently, and just getting bigger as time goes by.

Girl bullying on the other hand is a whole different beast. It’s subtle and evil, and the damage it does can linger for quite some time if not forever.

Nevertheless, society has come to associate most bullying with the former, and most abuse in general with a physical act. But those in the know realize that mental and emotional damage is far more potent, and lingers for much longer.

So it does not surprise me that yelling at a child (an act all parents have done and continue to do) can cause real long-term problems.

I’ve often said there is no greater character trait for a parent to obtain than patience. And there is rarely a time when one can look back at having yelled at their child with pride, feeling the situation was handled in the best possible way.

We should all be blessed with enough patience to be firm yet calm no matter what parenting complications come our way.

3) Whose Kid Is This?

“Parents often deceive themselves into thinking that their primary concern is their children’s education, when their motivations are really selfish… We see the child as our property. We think that his purpose on earth is to benefit us, the parents… What happened to the principal that we should “Educate a child according to his way?” (p. 42-43)

Ah, what a trap this is! Why should they not act according to our standards? And why should we not have very specific expectations of someone who owes everything to us?

Why? Because they’re free-thinking human beings, with their own strengths and weaknesses, their own preferences, dislikes, and idiosyncrasies. We need to raise each and every child to be the best them, not to be some idealized image we’ve created that we wish for them to become.

All children will be better served by giving them space to grow, with support and encouragement, and ample opportunities to fearlessly learn from their mistakes.

4) The Dinner Table

“Shabbos [Shabbat or Sabbath] should… be attractive, not oppressive. We should not force children to sit at the Shabbos table for an entire meal. This is too difficult for them… ” (p. 54)

Hard to forget a time I sat with a family in Bnei Brak for a Shabbat meal. I watched horrified as the father screamed at a small child for breaking the most intricate of laws. The child burst into tears.

The father wasn’t trying to make the experience beautiful. He wasn’t enticing the children with songs and treats. He wasn’t focusing on the amusement of the youngsters at the meal. Just that people looked and behaved a certain way.

Children are not adults. Not that you should scream at adults for small things, but you are entitled to have greater expectations. The inability to be reasonable, and to focus on children being children, simply cannot produce quality long-term results.

Kids need to run and play. Let them run and play!

5) An Aware Child

“It is also distressingly common that children riding on a bus fail to give up their seats to older passengers. Certainly, this reflects some insufficiency in the schools’ curriculum, but such behavior also reveals flaws in the educational program at home. Parents must teach their children to notice others and care about them. It should be obvious to a child that an elderly passenger needs to sit, and the child should enthusiastically and happily offer his place on the bus.” (p. 59-60)

Bus rides are easily within my top five most stressful parts of living in Israel. Whereas I think most adults here are actually exceptional about giving up their seats to the elderly and others, I find that the youth often claim much more space then they should. I’ve been on crowded buses with a teen sitting in his chair, legs spread out on the chair in front of them with a bag to their side taking another seat. Often they’re shouting on a phone, or even blaring music from their phone. One kid, three seats, lots of noise. Every last bit of this is because they grow up not learning to be aware of the people around them, and it’s very refreshing to find a leader of the community acknowledging this.

An Adult Problem

Nevertheless, I personally consider this an adult problem. Yes, adults usually stand up for their elders on buses here, but my compliments of their awareness of others around them ends there. I am often shocked at the lack of awareness people show in everyday life, whether it be walking through the grocery store or just up the street.

Years ago I was Youth Director at a synagogue in Baltimore. I was asked by one of my employers to “take care” of the talking problem during the teen services. My response: You will never stop the problem with the teens until you solve the problem with their parents in the adult services.

Our children learn from what we do. If we want caring and kind children who are extremely conscious of others around them, we must first look at ourselves and the environment in which we choose to raise them.

 

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Posted by jaffeworld in book review, judaism, parenting, 0 comments

The Real Walls Necessary for Israel’s Survival

Israel's survival
Something happened to me many years ago, something I’ve been working to understand ever since it occurred.

I lived in Israel all throughout the Second Intifada, and life was painful and stressful. I recall a time walking through Jerusalem when a large bang sent everyone on the street into a panic, some running, some ducking, everyone on high alert for what turned out to be a bus tire popping.

They were stressful times, to say the least. We watched as trips were cancelled, tourism was damaged, and business after business closed down. The rampant terrorism impacted everyone, some directly, but everyone in some life-changing manner.

Dr. Shmuel Gillis

The most direct impact on my life was the death of Dr. Shmuel Gillis. I stepped on a bus to return from my army base, and it was clear to me by the looks and mannerism of everyone on the bus that something was different. Something terrible had happened.

I was living in a small yishuv (settlement) called Carmei Tzur, with around 90 families. So basically everyone knew everyone. And the impact was enormous when we discovered that one of our own didn’t make it home that day.

Dr. Shmuel Gillis was driving home from work, on the road that I’d been on hundreds of times, when a terrorist shot at his vehicle. He was hit in the face, and his car spun off the road. He was killed instantly. And five children were left without a father.

I Changed

Something changed in me that day, and it would appear the change is permanent.

A wall went up around me. I cried out my last tears due to terrorism, and shed my last emotional reactions.

Now, whenever I hear about a terrorist attack, I check to make sure the people I know are safe, and I move on with my day without looking back. No fear, no sadness, no adjustments to my life. Nothing.

Several years ago, I was living in Kansas City. A piece of trash drove several hours to open fire on two different Jewish institutions, and he killed three people. I worked in the first building. So did my wife. All of my children attended school in that building. There was an air of fear and terror throughout my community. People talked about whether or not they could go back there, what they needed to do next. The atmosphere was thick with panic.

And I felt nothing.

When the Wall Goes Up

Every Israeli I know can pinpoint the moment their wall went up, the moment when they stopped suffering and panicking as a reaction to the dangers inherent in living in this country. Are we better off for it? Yes… and no. I do believe it interferes with my ability to give an empathic reaction to someone else who has not yet built up the defense mechanisms that I have. And to a certain extent I think it has made me a colder person than I would otherwise like to be.

But I do believe it’s also essential for the survival of this nation.

Many years ago another piece of garbage blew up the Sbarro pizza shop in the heart of Jerusalem, killing men, women, and children. I walked past the spot the very next day and was mesmerized by the fact that they had already started rebuilding the restaurant. Not fearfully avoiding the scene of the crime, nor building a memorial to the fallen victims. Not waiting for some cloud to disperse, for time to heal some of the wounds of the incident. No. We were moving forward as if nothing had happened. We were living our lives despite the fact that others tried to disrupt them in the most violent manner possible.

Because we needed to.

Life is Pain

The world is filled with pain. Or to quote the Dread Pirate Roberts, “Life is pain… Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Anyone who knows me even a little knows I do not mince words when criticizing Israel. There is ample room for growth here. And that fact is renewed for me every time I pick the phone or step outside. That being said, terror is not a reason to avoid Israel. Arguably, it’s one of the biggest reasons to stay connected to Israel, and where the world can learn the most from its people.

The world is not a safe place. And no society exists without horrifying elements, nor is any locale immune to terrible tragedies at the hands of monsters. Some countries have the luxury of not being instantly associated with their hardest moments. Sadly, Israel does not.

I have felt safe while shots were being fired in the streets of Hebron, and I have been violently assaulted in a neighborhood in New York regarded as one of its safest. And I know people in perfect health who one morning just didn’t wake up.

Safety is a State of Mind

Safety is a state of mind. It’s a choice. And one could choose to feel unsafe wherever they go. Or they can choose to live without fear and anxiety.

There is a famous Hebrew song with the words:

“All the world is a bridge. And the main point is not to be afraid”

I once learned that the Hebrew words are misquoted, and the actual words better translate to: “The main point is not to make yourself afraid.”

And thus the song takes on a whole new meaning. If a lion is chasing after you, advising you to not be afraid is both unhelpful and wildly unlikely advice to be heeded. In such a situation fear is not a choice but an inevitability. However, as we walk the narrow bridge, logically we know we’ll make it to the other side.

Whether or not we choose to be afraid is entirely up to us.

Israel’s Survival

The metaphor is perfect for those of us who have lived through hard times in Israel. The average person will not be harmed by vicious, violent acts. That’s a fact. Choosing to walk around with your head held high, unscathed by the attempts of others to instill fear in us, is the best choice. It’s the only choice.

Sadly, I do not think I will see the end to violence in the Middle East in my lifetime. I’d like to believe my children will experience some semblance of peace and understanding in theirs, but I remain skeptical at best. The next best thing is coping. Moving from day to day, enjoying the 99% of the time that life is fully serene. We do that through rebuilding what others have destroyed, without delay or hesitation. We do that through keeping our wits about ourselves, and not feeling unnecessary fear. And we do that through developing emotional walls to protect ourselves from the worst the world could throw our way.

 

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Posted by jaffeworld in Health, Israel, 0 comments

The Inevitability of Infidelity

Infidelity

The Inevitability of Infidelity

If someone cheats on a spouse, are they an awful person?

When I was younger I would have thought of that as a ridiculous question. Infidelity is wrong. Done. No more talking.

I still believe there is some truth to that idea; however, I think it’s a discussion worth having. And probably the most clear thing in my life with each passing year is that nothing in this world is black and white.

Let’s get one thing out of the way real quick. (And for the sake of sanity, I’m going to ignore gender equality with pronouns and the like. Everything I’m saying applies equally for husbands and wives.)

When is infidelity most certainly not OK?

If a man’s wife is there for him in every way: Their life together is fun, exciting, and interesting. She supports him in his endeavors, pours words of encouragement his way, and pulls him through hard times. Their level of intimacy is wonderful and fulfilling, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Through and through, she makes all reasonable efforts to be a remarkable spouse. If all that is there, and he cheats regardless, he is a piece of garbage.

But life is rarely that simple. And sadly, spouses rarely fit a description like this one.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was far from a perfect spouse. I’m not even sure there is such a thing. But I think I learned enough along the way to break down the primary “responsibilities” of a spouse into three categories:

  1. Emotional support
  2. Motivation
  3. Intimacy fulfillment

Emotional Support

Spouses must be there for each other through all the hard times, big and small. They must provide a firm yet soft shoulder to cry on. When one is down, the other must be there to pick them up and help them through the challenges. They must stick together as a team, and no matter how many family members or close friends are in the picture, the spouse must take the lead. They must be the primary sources of emotional support for one another.

Motivation

Remember that song Cheerleader, all over the radio for months? It’s very easy to get lost in the catchiness of the tune, and miss these simple and great words: “When I need motivation, my one solution is my queen … She is always in my corner, right there when I want her … I think that I found myself a cheerleader, she is always right there when I need her.” This is one of those few songs that makes me say, “Yeah. That’s what I want!”

Whereas I don’t believe, God forbid, that spouses should just cheer each other on no matter what they say and do, when they need motivation, they should be one another’s primary source. They could and should be able to criticize each other. That’s part of helping each other grow as well, so long it’s done tactfully, respectfully, and in moderation. But they should certainly be able to seek inspiration and motivation from one another. And again, they should be each other’s first choice for this motivation.

Intimacy Fulfillment

And finally, a relationship must be sexually fulfilling. That does not mean submitting to the will or bizarre fetishes of your partner, but it does mean seeking their enjoyment and satisfaction, and making adjustments if they aren’t there. There must be free and open communication, so that everyone’s opinions and feelings are on the table, and they could work together toward a mutually satisfying intimate life.

Again, with all three elements in place, infidelity should not occur. And if it does, the adulterer is a lousy human being. They should be abandoned, and the court should crush them financially. They threw away something special, something most people could only dream of.

But what if one of these elements is lacking in a marriage?

I’m not talking about a brief moment where one of these elements is slower than normal. If (when) their sex life gets interfered with by pregnancy or raising young children, both parties will need to work harder in order to make sure the changes are not permanent, but the man or woman who turns to infidelity to deal with the temporary setback has a lousy character, and should be ashamed at how they deal with their issues.

No, I’m talking about a perennial lack of one of these elements. No man or woman would knowingly sign up for a lifetime of minimal emotional connection, support, or intimacy. And even though just about anything is tolerable in the short term, these aren’t optional aspects of life. Without them, life feels empty. The pain grows, and just worsens with each passing day. Human beings are not designed to live without these, and if there is no divorce, at some point down the road of this incomplete marriage, infidelity will become borderline inevitable. The actual infidelity is highly likely; however, the urge toward it is entirely inevitable, and just sitting around awaiting the right moment.

Emotional Infidelity

One might argue that this adultery would only result from a lack of marital intimacy, and not from an emotionally unavailable or un-encouraging spouse.  I respectfully disagree. I think by nature we are drawn to the people from whom we seek these connections, and even though the connection might begin as a platonic one, each passing day is a step closer to the relationship evolving into an intimate one.

But it’s all preventable. None of this needs to happen. For certain we can make better choices about whom we marry, to lessen the possibility of a union with the wrong person. However, the average marriage need not go down this road. Most of us have hobbies we love to improve at. Why not put that same energy into being incredible husbands and wives? And why not do everything we can to better ourselves, to be there for our loved ones, to communicate with one other often and effectively, and to be a united team, two people so connected that the thought of infidelity is loathsome?

Why not? I wish I knew the answer. Unfortunately, we can only control our own actions and behaviors, and a marriage is only as good as the partner who puts in the least amount of effort. We can only hope everyone understands what’s at stake when we give less than our best to something this important.

May we all find willing and capable partners in our lives, and work together to form a truly united, loving, and caring team!

 

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Posted by jaffeworld in divorce, opinion, 0 comments

Growth Through Pain

Pain

Growth Through Pain

I was 37 when I got divorced, after 13 years of marriage. I tried repairing a social life from scratch. When you’re married with four kids, it’s fairly likely that most of your friends are also married with children. But this carries a small problem.

Parents are a pain in the ass to hang out with.

Hangin’ with Parents

They can’y go anywhere without getting a babysitter or paying a bit too much attention to their phones, “just in case.” They can never make plans on the fly. Everything has to be neat, tidy, and organized, and despite that, the likelihood of them changing the plans or cancelling on you are so much higher. Combine that with the fact that the babysitter inherently increases how much it costs for them to hang out and gives them a deadline, and you have a recipe for a frustrating new social life.

So I was forced to broaden my horizons, to make new friends. However, in order to be able to solve all of the aforementioned problems, I rapidly found myself spending time with people a fraction of my age. And I enjoyed myself tremendously, and everything felt normal.

Young People

That being said, I can’t stand young people.

When I moved back to Israel, I found myself surrounded by the early 20s Jerusalem crowd. Some people were wonderful, others made me nauseous. I was at a gathering and two young ladies walked in. I’ll never forget my chats with them. I asked the first where she was from and received an answer that basically sounded like this, “It’s really not important where I’m from. That’s the past. What matters is where I am now and where I’m going.”

I then slapped her and asked her to answer the damn question…

 

Or at least it’s what I wanted to do…

 

I later encountered her buddy. After similar opening questions, I received this soliloquy: “I don’t feel that conversations should involve questions.

Conversations should evolve organically and just flow naturally. Questions are a complete conversation killer.”

I then stood up on a chair and shouted, “You dopey little children. Why can’t you just answer a person’s questions, without giving me your infantile philosophies? Why do you need to pretend your thoughts are so great? And why do you need to interrupt a conversation to rudely protest the way someone is speaking with you? Why? I’ll tell you why! Because you’re a child! You know nothing. But you’re too young and unexperienced to even realize how little you know. And by the way, the greatest conversation killer is not asking questions. It’s whatever asinine fortune cookie blah blah you just vomited out at me!”

 

Or at least that’s what I wanted to do…

 

The “Good” Ones

These two “conversations” started making me think a lot about the younger people in my life, the ones with whom I have amazing and intelligent conversations, versus the ones who just make me laugh at the dopey things they say and do.

After much contemplation, I feel there’s one element in life that’s the game changer here.

Pain.

The average 20-year-old American, even if they’ve suffered through the occasional “real” tragedy, has seen nothing too far beyond the unfairly graded college paper or the shattered iPhone screen. And that is what affords them the luxury of saying the ridiculous statements I mentioned earlier.

Obviously I don’t want pain in my life, nor do I wish suffering upon most people, but I feel it’s inarguable what pain does to progress your growth as a person. Suffering is like a stone that sharpens a sword. When we go through challenging times, we are granted a unique opportunity to grow. They are tests. We either let the challenges damage us, and we sink into nothingness, or we emerge on the other side of life’s hardships better, more intelligent, and more interesting people.

Growth through Pain

My life has been a solid mixture of pain and privilege; however, age, experiences, and some really tough moments have given me what I consider a unique and worthwhile perspective on multiple issues. (With a hefty room for continued growth, of course.)

But not all perspectives are valid. And not every opinion is worth listening to. Fact is, there are many who walk around thinking the things they believe and the crusades they wish to fight for are noteworthy or fascinating. And they are dead wrong. They have just not experienced enough life or overcome enough tragic circumstances to realize this yet.

A life of joy and flowers is a privileged one indeed. And it’s one we all strive for. However, such a life comes at a cost.

Would I prefer to gain my opinions through reading a fascinating book, or my perspectives through a lecture at an esteemed university? Perhaps. But they will inherently lack something. They will not truly be my own. They will not be verified or validated through my own experiences. And they will not be sharpened through the privilege of suffering.

Perhaps I wish to learn the rest of my life lessons in a joyous and relaxed manner. But I will never stop being grateful for the suffering I’ve endured or the person it has made me.

 

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Posted by jaffeworld in opinion, 4 comments