Warrior, or Worrier?
The Triumph Of Judas Maccabeus by Peter Paul Rubens
Image from Fine Art America
Hanukkah is approaching, and this year I am focusing on the Hanukkah story as a fighting story. The Maccabees, led by Judah Maccabee, were warriors who fought invasions by Hellenistic armies and restored the Holy Jewish Temple at that time. For much of history, Jews haven't always been known for strength and power. With Israel's tiny-but-mighty defense systems, however, in our lifetime we are warriors.
I am definitely a lifelong worrier. (Thats WORRY with an "O", not and "A") I can imagine all sorts of scary scenarios to spook myself into a state of panic about pretty much anything. I wasn't aware of my worrisome tendencies until I married a non-worrier. Going through life with Elie I became aware that worrying about something is more of a choice than a reality.
Take flying for example, I don't enjoy it per se. You have to admit, in concept its a little scary. I fly a lot, and have learned to enjoy aspects of it, breathe through some of it, and remember that it feels better to get through it without fear. I am close to achieving over a million miles on one airline alone. Turns out even I can be a travel warrior.
The saying, "pick your battles", for me used to reference a passive approach to dealing with challenging situations. When faced with hard choices, pick the problems that you can strategically win and let the others fade away. Conserve your strength for the things that matter. Picking your battles in parenting is a critical survival technique. But now I realize that "picking your battles" can also be active. Some choices are complicated, bringing danger and uncertainty along with adventure and transformation, and you have to charge forth, metaphorical hammer in hand, to forge ahead.
Picking up and moving countries with children was definitely a warrior move. There isn't anything easy about being an immigrant without command of the local language. Making new intimate friendships in a new country and a new language your forties is a project, and I don't mean that in a positive way. I am an immigrant warrior too.
Knowing that our life in Israel with two sons ages 11 and 12, means they will be conscripted soldiers someday is a quality of a warrior mother. But alas, I'm not there yet. I'm a worrier mother for this. Oh, and there's the little fact that our tiny country is smushed in the middle of the Middle East, and not adored by its neighbors or frankly many other countries as well. You'll have to stay tuned for six years to see how this turns out.
I can't write this post without a shout-out to my brother, who is battling the ultimate battle, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis and managing to live life to the fullest and even have fun. He is a love-of-life warrior.
Happiest of holidays to all my dear ones. May you win your battles with humor and grace. I love and miss you.