On Hate and My Judaism

I don’t much think of myself as Jewish, but I am a Jew. Growing up in the Northeast, being Jewish isn’t such a big deal. In grammar school, a few kids did accuse me of killing Jesus. But having been raised with zero religious education, I had no idea what they were talking about. I’m not even sure I knew who Jesus was at that point, actually.

I know it’s different to be Jewish in other parts of the country and in other countries. (It can be scary to be Christian, Jewish, Asian, Muslim…)

When I went to The University of Michigan, there were kids from the North who’d never met a Jewish person before. One guy told me he didn’t expect me to look like him. I assume he was expecting horns?

In recent years, I’ve read a lot about the Holocaust and what happened to the Jewish people. (I know many, many, many others were also killed. I mourn equally the excruciating suffering of all who were tortured or murdered or hurt in any way.) It’s horrifying beyond understanding.

But mostly, it makes no sense. What is hate? Why do we hate? Why do we want to destroy, destruct, kill, humiliate, maim, shame? Just because someone is Jewish, Muslim, Black, White, Yellow or a martian? (And though I am a non-practicing Jew, of course that would mean nothing to someone who wants to annihilate the race.)

I can, of course, extrapolate out — why do we hate/humiliate fat people, unattractive people, old people or just about anyone who is ‘other’?

I know there are reasons and histories and a lot fear, but hurting others just makes no sense. How can I feel better when someone else suffers? Why would I feel like more when someone else has less?

We humans are very strange.

And while I believe everyone has the right to march peaceably, I still don’t get the hate.

More on Our Weird World

And another thing, how come when we’re sick, we can’t just stay home and sleep until we feel better?

I am coughing and I’m achy. I’m also at my desk. It would take a lot more than that to allow me to hang home. I work for a small company – no one stays home unless it’s dire.

Besides, it’s like a crazy badge of honor to work when you don’t feel well. And you practically get a merit badge if you work many, many hours or multiple jobs. We have such a silly work obsession in this country. The more exhausted you are, the higher your morals. Or something like that.

Once again, why did we create this incredibly difficult world?

Lunch Update/Clarity

Per my last post – the truth is I MUCH prefer poached eggs to beef goulash. In fact, I’m not even sure I actually like beef goulash.

However, on further examination of the situation, I realize the whole thing, as usual, has nothing to do with the food. I eat lunch with Laura all the time and her truck driver appetite doesn’t bother me in the least.

But, on Saturday, I saw starkly how much better Laura is doing than I am personally and professionally. She loves her great man, her great job and her wonderful community of great friends. In comparison, I’m lagging way behind.

I love Laura and of course, want all these wonderful things for her. I just wish I were manifesting some of them for myself too. I don’t covet her lunch special; I want her life!

It’s never about the food, is it?

Lunch

Yesterday, I had lunch with my super-skinny-from-birth friend, Laura.

I ordered poached eggs, dry toast, with a side of lettuce and tomato. Yummy, delicious and a favorite of mine.

Laura got and finished a huge plate of beef goulash and then enjoyed rice pudding for dessert.

Driving home from lunch, I wondered – is it worth it, the way I eat? Why not just let go and not worry? What would that be like?

Last night, I even dreamed that my mother decided to let go and not worry about what she ate and how her body looked. (Wow, THAT would have been something. Remember, this was a woman who got way too thin as she was dying from Parkinson’s Disease. They doctors begged her to eat more and to eat salt, so she’d retain water and have better balance. Day after day, she refused. She loved being skinny.)

When I woke up this morning, I thought about lunch and the dream and what it all means. I came to the realization that I need to look at the truth for me and what’s best.

Poached eggs with veggies are a perfect meal – for me. I like them, they fill me up and I leave too full.

I don’t have Laura’s metabolism, nor Laura’s ability to eat a really big meal and walk away and forget about it. If I started eating beef goulash, I wouldn’t know quite where to stop. Laura stops when she’s had exactly enough. If I then dove into rice pudding, I’d get completely lost.

My way works for me. Eating the way I do allows me to walk away from lunch, just as Laura does, and not think about it again. I’m not Laura. I’m me.

That’s cool.

Weird World

Such an odd world we’ve created for ourselves. A land where we need to work so many hours and make so much money, just to survive. A place where parents have to leave their children with strangers every day, because they can’t afford to stay home. It’s bizarre to me that we made this up.

Who came up with the stupid idea of money, anyway?

It’s an ever-changing world where my new device is nearly obsolete a few months after I buy it. (And yet I still don’t understand how to use it.)

A world where ageing is reviled, even though we’re all doing it. Makes no sense.

And, of course, a world where the physical body ideal is so difficult to achieve for most of us. And the struggle to achieve it can lead to all kinds of misery.

Another thing I’ve never understood is the idea of borders/ They seem so made-up. It’s God’s world/land – who are we to cut it up? And decide who can go where or not?

I also, but this gets political, don’t understand the death penalty. If killing is illegal, how can capital punishment be law? (I snuck this one in, because I always want to say this, at least once a day.)

I could go on and on about this difficult place we’ve made for us to live.

Why did we set this up?

Is this Listening?

There’s an article in this month’s Oprah Magazine touted as “A Cure for Doctor’s Who Don’t Listen”. It’s written by a doctor, Danielle Ofri, who holds both an MD and a PhD. She gives tips on how doctors can do a better job listening.

I was appalled.

First, she tells us that studies show that doctors cut patients off after their first 12 seconds of describing their medical issues. Dr. Ofri says the doctor should wait longer, because most patients can sum up their concerns in 92 seconds. (By the way, who’s timing this?)

92 seconds? I can’t do much of anything in 92 seconds, let alone share with my doctor what’s wrong.

Here’s Dr. Ofri’s recommendation – a doctor should spend a FULL two minutes listening to a patient.

TWO MINUTES.

This is our health! The most important thing we have and need. I recently spent half a day with a car salesman and didn’t even buy a car. It’s a luxury to get 2 minutes from my doctor?!!!!! This is progress?

And I don’t know about you guys, but I have a high deductible and a high co-payment. The last time I spent five minutes in a doctors office, it cost me over $350 out of pocket. I felt so rushed. And definitely didn’t get to say everything I wanted.

Dr Ofri also suggests bringing a list of your concerns, so the doctor can peruse it quickly and pick the one or two issues that are REALLY important to discuss. So, everything else can and will be tabled. For when?

I know doctors are busy. Everyone’s busy, but when a customer calls my office my office, we answer ALL their questions.

My blood is boiling, but I better not see my doctor about it – she’s already given me five minutes this year!