It’s been a while since I’ve written and it feels good to be back with you in this space. I hope you are all safe and healthy and managing well.
This week was exhausting. Lots of doing with little progress, as if I’d been running in place.
I cooked like a short-order chef, cleaned until the house smelled of Clorox, ran the bajillionth load of laundry since we locked down, and choreographed a series of staggered grocery deliveries to arrive between now and Shavuos. One night, I colored my hair, but missed a splotch of grey. The next morning, I gave myself a mediocre pedicure. I tried to write, but instead spent two days trapping an elusive fly the size of a fighter jet that buzzed non-stop around my office. I told him he could have my chair before I gave up and left the room. I sunk a basil plant into the ground, knowing I haven’t the energy to fight off the bunnies. And after reading too many articles about the pandemic, I resolved never to leave the house again.
But more than anything this week, I was sad. I schlepped that hopeless funk around – daydreaming in mid-vacuum, worrying about the present, worrying about what comes next. I felt conquered. I cried. I wished for certainty, or at least a window of clarity, both of which seem to have slipped through my hands, if they were never mine to hold in the first place. I sat outside in the late afternoons to get some sun, to bring in a bit of light, but it didn’t help as much as I’d have liked. And I prayed, asking G-d for a lot. Maybe even a chutzpadik amount.
As the week draws to an end, I’m starting to think I’ve gotten it all wrong. Maybe sad isn’t the right word for what I’ve been feeling. Perhaps it’s more apt to call it the frustration born of trying to move forward, only to discover that all the roads are being repaved, that the map of the world has been redrawn, that we really know very little for sure. Yet my gut tells me that it’s likely also acceptance of my own very human limitations at the hardest of times.
Thank G-d, thank G-d, Shabbos is here, come to save me from myself. To remind me that I don’t always have to be strong, that I can lean into my faith to keep me standing, that I don’t have to carry the weight on my own. That it’s okay if I can’t always hold the pieces together. That sometimes, doing nothing at all is what gets you where you need to go.
Wishing you all a beautiful Yom Yerushalayim and a restful, peaceful Shabbos.
3 thoughts on “Trying To Do Nothing At All”
Hi Merri !
It was good to “hear” from you .. eloquent and in point ( as always) mirroring a lot of my inner head space and feelings ..
Enjoy the Shabbos! And let it carry you through this craziness ..
Happy Yon Yerushalayim & .. soon enough.. Good yom Tov too
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I just “discovered” you…from your article on Tablet, “Secret Santa. ” (They reprinted it for this year’s Dec. 25th special edition) Anyway, I went looking around my Chromebook for other things that you’ve written, and I see that you write quite a bit! (I’m also intrigued about your first name, as I grew up as “Mary” but eventually changed it legally to “Malka” –the Jewish name my parents gave me as a baby, but that’s a different story) I enjoyed this post, especially since we’re much further down the Corona road, much further than we could have imagined. The last 2 paragraphs here especially touched me…and love the imagery of “the roads are being repaved…”
Have a beautiful Shabbos!”
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Malka, and for reaching out. My name is the English version of a much longer Yiddish name, but Merri has always been mistaken for Mary. What’s in a name, I guess we might all wonder? I’m so honored that you were touched by my Santa story. I was surprised and delighted that Tablet reshared it. It gave me a chance to revisit it, too. ❤ Wishing you continued health in 2021.