Last week, my daughter went for a BBQ with a bunch of her friends from the old hood. It was the typical 12-year-old girl affair: lots of smoke, squealing and 'fun'. The next day, one of the girls who'd been at the BBQ collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
There, she was given drugs that she had a huge allergic reaction to: one lung collapsed completely and the other one was also half-gone. She was fighting for her life for a couple of days.
Meanwhile, in my home my daughter was having panic attacks, shakes, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. Part of the problem is that no-one knew, initially, what had caused the problem, and the 12-year-old girl network thought it was breathing in the firestarter spray they'd used to get the BBQ going. My daughter had also breathed in those fumes a bit (no more than usual, though) - but was consumed with anxiety that the same thing was going to happen to her, as had happened to her friend, God forbid.
After many communal prayers, the friend's condition stabilised after 5 days. It's still not great, but it's not life-threatening the way it was.
The whole episode did my head in, because it underlined with a big, black pen the complete fragility of life. One day you can be BBQing with your friends and whooping it up, and the next day you're fighting for your life in intensive care.
Without God, and emuna, in the picture you'd go completely bonkers.
The disturbing email
While all that was going on, God arranged for someone to send me a disturbing email. Unfortunately when you write publicly in any capacity, poisonous emails are par for the course, even in the 'frum' Jewish world that's apparently meant to know better.
Without going into details, I got the yukky email when my emotional coping abilities weren't their best, and it pulled the tiny bit of the rug away that hadn't already disappeared as a result of what was going on with my daughter's friend.
For a few days, I went into a slump and started questioning the point of continuing to write on Emunaroma, and opening myself up to personal attacks from very disturbed individuals.
If I've learnt one thing, it's not to make decisions 'in reaction' to circumstances. So I spent a few days' praying on it, and asking God for guidance. Maybe, writing about my own challenges isn't so tznius? Maybe, the things I'm sharing here aren't so useful or helpful? Maybe, there are better things I could be doing with my time and my keyboard?
The answers are still a little fuzzy.
What I do know is this: I'm at a crossroads in my writing, and in myself at the moment. Today marks 10 years of being in Eretz Yisrael, and I feel like something is about to shift in the direction my life has been going in, hopefully in a very positive way.
I don't yet know what it means for me, and for Emunaroma. Part of me believes that if I'm still getting yukky emails from people who really shouldn't be acting that way, I should just give up already, and go do something safer and more enjoyable, like the stuff over on JEMI.
The other part of me believes that if I'm still getting poisonous emails from people who really shouldn't be acting that way, I'm probably on the right track, spiritually, and I shouldn't be deterred.
Trouble is, I don't know which part is right.
While I'm figuring it out, the posting on Emunaroma may be a little lighter than usual, but I'll let you know what's going on, as soon as I know myself.
Please pray for the refuah shleima of Tehila bat Leah