In the aftermath of a terror attack in Israel I remember hearing a mother promise that come evening “our sons will go hunting for those that did this. May G-d avenge their blood.”
It wasn’t the first time I have heard it nor was it the last time. Given current circumstances and situations I am certain I will hear it again.
That’s a sad but realistic commentary on life and while I hope to be proven wrong recent experiences have made me less than optimistic.
When There Are No Words
I found out out today that a friend’s 19-year-old son was murdered and like so many I wondered how and why something like this could happen.
Read some terribly insensitive comments on Facebook and thought about how clueless some people are.
And from deep within I heard that mother’s voice, “tonight our sons go hunting” and nodded because I am hurt and angry for my friend and for his son.
At the same time I shook my head and wondered about the giant loss here and asked why knowing there are no good answers.
Friends of mine in Israel have told me more than once about how they know if something terrible was to happen to them or people they love it would have meaning.
Their perspective has always made sense to me but I have wondered if they would change their opinions if the worst happened.
It is not something I wish for them to be able to answer nor would I want to know myself.
Once when I expressed that I was told if I ever was in that position they were sure I would be among the hunters.
I told them then I expect that would be true but G-d forbid I am ever in a position in which it is confirmed.
Experience has already provided me with more than one opportunity to look grieving parents in the eye and say I know there are no words other than I am sorry.
When my kids heard the news they said they were sorry to hear it and asked for some details. Not for morbid reasons but genuine curiosity and something else.
They wanted to hear their father promise to do my best to keep them safe. But we all knew that sometimes things happen and for a moment I thought about how long ago they lost that particular innocence.
I know they don’t doubt I will do my best but I also know they know that I am not superman. They know sometimes bad things happen.
Storms and Fire Dancing
Thirty minutes after I got the news of my friend’s son I sat in a small room with sterile white walls and listened to other news.
Listened to people speak and wondered if I maybe I had been teleported into a different world in which up is down and left is right.
Something about it made me think of a song I hadn’t heard in years and while they spoke I heard The Killers sing Mr. Brightside.
Thought about what part of the lyrics was calling out to me, identified it and told it to go away.
It wasn’t the time to day dream or be distracted but it didn’t stop Meat Loaf from busting in and singing Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad inside the walls of my inner studio.
Pulled myself out of my day dream and focused on what I was hearing and thought about what had to be done and realized I couldn’t do it.
Couldn’t do a damn thing other than listen, absorb and process and wait for part two.
It is a peculiar place to be in, so foreign and surreal to recognize I was standing inside a cage and that the doors won’t be opening as soon as I might like.
The echoes grow louder until all I can hear is the promise of the mother’s voice and the image of our sons going hunting.
Images of the moments when light turns to dark and justice in boots marching forth from the gate fill my eyes and I find it time to do other things.
Time to prepare for what comes and to take a deep breath as significant energy will be required. The gift of tomorrow will be granted again and I am not willing to just throw it away.