Sometimes we look at someone and think, “I wish I could be like so-and-so.” Or, “So-and-so is so lucky. I wish my life would be like that.” A person who seems like they have it all may in reality be secretly harboring terrible tzuras of their own, be it serious illness, familial, financial or legal problems. The truth is, everyone has their “peckelach” (burdens). When we see people in a particular situation, be it good or bad, we are never seeing the whole picture. How many times have we thought, “Wow, I’m shocked – – such a nice family! I don’t understand how such a terrible thing happened!” when we hear of troubles of one sort or another. The truth is, we can never know what goes on behind closed doors. This is slightly less true in Israel, where there is less privacy and people tend to live very densely. But in America, where people dwell in single-family homes and/or have much less of an “open door” policy in their relationships with friends and neighbors, we really have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life. The reality is, if we really saw a complete picture of another person’s life, we would never trade our own peckelach for theirs. It is difficult to fathom the depths of another’s suffering. So many seemingly robust people who are surrounded by friends, family, and financial security are sick, unhappy, lonely, frustrated or overwhelmed. Irrespective of what your “yichus” (pedigree) is, everyone has family dramas, soap operas, and skeletons in their closets.
Since beginning this blog, I have lost count of the number of people who have written me, saying “I have fantasized about making a major change in my life for many years.” Many people are not necessarily in need of a drastic change; they simply need time off to de-stress. I consider “time off” different from “vacation.” Our move to Maine has opened a floodgate of heartache, as readers of this blog have shared with me the tremendous challenges faced by them in their relationships with others, mostly family. There is so much anger, resentment, and fatigue out there. Out of respect to their privacy, I will not share their stories here. Perhaps if you are reading this, you are thinking, “Oh, she’s talking about me.” I am not singling you out. Unfortunately, “you” are one of many.
I recently checked out a book from the library, entitled “Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment” by Karen Casey. It’s one of the most “Jewish” non-Jewish books I’ve ever read. I am not a fan of pop psychology or self-help books, but this one is a winner. If you can go through it slowly, and actualize some of the suggestions, it might help a little bit.