Friday, December 12, 2008

Chavi is BACK!

Brace yourselves, folks. Chavi is BACK in business. The first semester of my graduate career is officially over, and I'm praying for all As on my first, official, graduate school report card. But in truth, I'm done thinking about academics for the next month, I think. We all know this is a lie, as the moment I have a free second, I'm going to be starting in on "The Essential Talmud " by Adin Steinsaltz in preparation for my Talmud course next semester.

This week, though, has been one of highs and lows. Ups and downs. Emotional extremes.

The highs? The significant other (known henceforth as Tuvia) gave me some early Chanukah gifts -- a much-needed toaster oven, a much-needed HP printer/scanner/copier, and most beautifully, a glittering, shiny Star of David necklace. I started packing for my Birthright trip, with the knowledge that this time next week I'll be basking in the sun of Israel, davening in the land of my ancestors, exploring the land.

The lows? I realized that my knowledge of New Testament studies is nil. I found myself frustrated studying for my Bible exam because of my inability to comprehend the unresolved (academically and theologically) issue of Jesus as G-d (Jesus can suffer, G-d can't, but Jesus is still G-d -- note: not the SON of G-d, just G-d, a common misunderstanding of our Christian brethren).

The lowest of the lows? I found out, around 5 p.m. yesterday while stressing about my Bible exam, that my father has lymphoma. They don't know just yet whether it's Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins. They don't know what stage it's in. They, of course, being my parents. Until they meet with the oncologist, we don't really know anything.

My brain was frazzled this morning. I couldn't get my toaster to work. I spent 10 minutes trying to fix it. I realized later, after throwing my bagel frustratedly into the trash, that I'd unplugged the power strip with the toaster and microwave instead of the refrigerator plug, which had been my original intention. I got all the way to class and then realized I'd left my term paper (which I needed to hand in) back in my room and had to schlep back to get it before the test. This morning was a head explosion, can't focus, struggling to breathe kind of morning.

The best way for me to describe my current emotional state is stunned. Not upset or sad or depressed, just stunned. I don't know if that makes sense, but it makes me feel bad that I'm not bawling my eyes out every five seconds. Although, when I informed my professor of the news, I nearly started crying, which would have been a travesty, as it was moments before I started the exam. The thing is, when I was little, I freaked out about death. I spent some amount of time crying at night, unable to sleep, devastated at the idea of death and everything just stopping. And then I had a realization and I realized that it was so insignificant -- life was important, this life, this existence. Ever since then, I've been unable to get really depressed about death. I haven't been able to overwhelm myself with loss. My grandfather died in April, and I was stunned more than upset. My great uncle died maybe 12 years ago, and I wrote a poem about how happy his memory was for me (he used to always steal my nose). And now? I'm just stunned. Empty, stunned shock. Maybe I don't know what to think.

But the important thing is? I'm back. After Shabbos, I'll be writing about, well, Shabbos. I've been doing the Shomer Shabbos thing, and tonight Tuvia and I are heading to to a modern Orthodox shul. We'll see how it goes. But tonight, I'll be thinking of my father. And if it isn't too much to ask, I would hope y'all could donate some of your prayers tonight to my father. He has no Hebrew name, he's not Jewish, but he is my father.

I'm back, baby. I'm back!