I’m stuck in the Middle East.
By choice, that is.
By choosing to make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel 5 years ago.
Over the past few weeks I have found myself stuck on so many things, that I don’t even know where to begin going about resolving them:
Stuck on utter sadness when 3 innocent, young Israeli boys were kidnapped by the terrorist organization, Hamas;
Stuck on hope that that situation would end in a fairy tale kind of way.
Stuck on pure grief when the news unfolded otherwise;
Stuck on sick when the mother of one of the suspected murderers praised her son for his actions;
Stuck on disbelief when some people concluded that if the Jewish people weren’t in the West Bank to begin with, none of this would have ever happened;
Stuck on complete disgust and embarrassment by the burning alive of an innocent Palestinian boy by an Israeli Jew;
Stuck on anger and enrage for Hamas firing hundreds of rockets on Israel;
Stuck on concern for all innocent Israelis (the children are mostly in my mind) who, during their summer vacations, are running to bomb shelters innumerable times a day instead of running around free and wild like children should be doing on these hot, summer days;
Stuck on incredulity with the astonishingly high number of everyday citizens (doctors, lawyers, teachers, hi-tech employees, etc.) who are being called up to the reserves;
Stuck on amazement that I even personally know some of these men – like my kibbutz friend, who in his regular life is the CFO of an educational center, but when he’s called up to service is a battalion commander – now serving on the border with Gaza – and for all I know is inside Gaza at this very moment;
And stuck on overwhelm, gratitude, and pride for his (and their) undying service and commitment to this country;
Stuck on sorrow with how many kibbutz girlfriends have instantly turned into single mothers over the past few weeks;
And stuck on total amazement with how quickly grandparents revert back into parenting once again while they replace their beloved sons/sons-in-law who are fighting for this country;
Stuck on disbelief when I hear radio broadcasters interrupting songs to announce when and where a siren is being blasted in the country (to prepare citizens for the falling of a rocket) and to remind people of what to do in those circumstances (i.e. like what to do if a siren sounds and you are driving in a car).
Stuck on heartache for all the innocent deaths (on both sides);
Stuck on despair because Hamas is more powerful in trying to bring down Israel than the non-Hamas Palestinians are on trying to creating a flourishing community – so many years after Israel left Gaza;
Stuck on bleakness for all the life cycle events, like weddings and funerals, that are disturbed because of rockets aimed at killing them;
Stuck on inspiration and hope by the Beersheva couple who named their newborn baby (Tzuk Eitan) after the name of the current operation (in English: Operation Protection Edge).
And stuck on synchronicity that the first soldier to die in this battle was also named Eitan.
And stuck on never wanting to let go of hugging my own son.
Stuck on worry about the new Gaza ground operation.
Stuck on startled when another and yet another and yet another fighter jet zooms over my head.
Stuck on despair for the thousands of wandering Israeli Bedouins who live in tents and have no siren system nor protection from incoming rockets from Gaza.
Stuck on anguish when I hear my Tel Aviv friends having to wake up their children in the middle of the night in order to escape to the “safe room” (and hence, losing sleep night after night).
Stuck on “Thank G-d” for the Iron Dome. (More accurately, Stuck on Thank G-d for giving the Israelis the wisdom and ability to create the Iron Dome.)
Stuck on sadness that we, on this kibbutz in the north, are preparing our “safe rooms” – just in case.
Stuck on frustrated that these seem to be the only topics of conversations that are spoken and being heard of over and over and over again.
Stuck on disgust that my children have to experience all of this.
And yet stuck on the opportunity to remind them what we are fighting for.
Stuck on guilty for even considering to enjoy myself at my weekly singing group or supporting the chosen word “happiness” as the focus for my Friday morning yoga class today.
Stuck on helpless.
Stuck on wanting to help.
(By the way, anyone from the South want to come up North? We have a spare room for you.)
Stuck on concern that I’m not the only one in this country living this emotional roller coaster.
And stuck on what impact living under so much stress can have on individuals, families, and a national as a whole.
Stuck on steadfast that this is where my home is.
And stuck on having no plans on leaving anytime soon.
Stuck on worry – will this ever end?
Stuck on skepticism that it won’t.
Stuck on wanting “S.T.U.C.K.” to “work” on the macro-level just like it seems to work for me on the micro-level so that “S.T.U.C.K.” can resolve this conflict.
Yet, “S.T.U.C.K.” is very one-sided.
It’s about working on my side.
Because I want to relate better with you (or another person or experience).
But, that’s problematic when the other side’s vision is to see your death.
So, obviously, “S.T.U.C.K.” isn’t really appropriate here.
And then I get stuck again.