Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Holding On to Things Loosely

Dov Shares how the program helps keep him calm when things go wrong

by Dov (See all authors)

We are on vacation now for a few days iy"H. We were less than a second away from a major accident just as we were about 2 minutes from the motel, after driving for about 3 hours. It was so close that my wife was shaking for about 15 minutes after, and she's usually quite cool. For some strange reason, I was not shaking at all. Nu.

On the way here we realized that we forgot the camera, always a very important item, especially for my wife. We will try to have it overnighted by a neighbor to this motel today. The wife isn't too happy about the 'glitch', though. I am grateful to discover that I am really set on doing my part to keep positive about whatever happens and that Hashem has given me the power to see the bright side of our little tiny corner of reality, so far.

Then we get to the motel after only one brief family argument in the car, settle in for three days together iy"H, and my wife discovers that we are ossur. She is about a week early. We are very close and having a lot of nachas just from being near each other lately, and that's great. But the disappointment that we would not be able to include the physical part of the intimacy into the experience here was pretty hard to take. She was more sad about it than I was, though. For I knew that I cannot afford to wallow in the sadness that was natural for me, and kept thinking, "thank G-d we will not have to contend with the complexity that sex adds to life during this vacation." It was a nechoma for both of us, especially after I told her not to sweat it (she was really upset, almost feeling guilty ... that never made sense to me... I guess it's a girl thing). I reminded her of the complications that physical stuff adds to things during a vacation... and she agreed. Heaven knows we have both suffered a ton over that distraction in the past. The pain is terrible: giving, taking, feeling taken advantage of, demanding, expectations, trying to please or be satisfied but sometimes not quite succeeding... disappointment and disillusionment all around... Enough!!

Well, frankly, I'd keep on trying - no, we'd both just keep on trying given the chance... as we have for years, but one of the 'nice' things about niddah is that it is final. It allows room for a gift of clarity in the times when there is confusion and doubt. A relief. Strange.

Now we both feel better and are calm again. Is that a miracle, or what ? Just a few years ago, I was going on vacation hopelessly holding onto the expectation that we'd finally have a private room and the kids would leave us alone enough for my lusts to be fulfilled!

Now, that attitude is so easy for a 'holy roller' to criticize, but is there really anything evil about that? I think not. Certainly based on where I was coming from ... It's a lot better than the poison of masturbating to fantasy, having relations with my wife while imagining she is someone else , watching porn and acting out, etc. Of course, the expectation will always ruin everything (and they did), but don't tell me it is evil.

And no, I wasn't outwardly demanding - only inwardly. No one would have been able to see it, but it declared itself when things did not go my way. Boy, did it! Eventually, like a time bomb, it guaranteed that the kids would become a big pain in the backside for me. Eventually, they'd get in the way, and I be seething - all the while seeing myself as a tzaddik for not blowing up at them (really!!), and it ruined stuff.

Were we going on vacation for sex ? No, I'd have told you even then - and we weren't....but I was holding onto it tight! By my nature, I tend to hold onto it - and onto many things - too tightly. That is what the 4th-7th step process is for, b"H.

Now, I can usually hold onto it and other things loosely . It's much, much better this way for everyone. And it makes it easier to live this day soberly, which is better for everyone, too.