I struggled last night, but I can’t say why, because of lashon hara (malicious speech) issues. Basically, there is someone in my life who periodically upsets me to a very great extent for no good reason and who for a variety of reasons I have to keep in my life. I think this person has undiagnosed issues of their own, but they won’t seek help. It’s very difficult. The upshot was that it ruined my Shabbat evening. I was very upset and couldn’t even read very much.
The other thing that upset me a bit last night was reading this paragraph in the book Sparks from Berditchov by Yaakov Klein:
Every Jew who is serious about his avodas Hashem [service of God] knows how many benefits this lifestyle yields, not only in the next world, but in this world as well… A life lived per the Torah’s Divine guidance is one of utmost vitality. Every moment is packed with meaning and every circumstance inundated with the possibility of earning a piece of eternity. There is hardly a situation that an oveid Hashem [servant of God] can’t handle; the raging rapids of life’s ups and downs may toss him about but he remains safe, ever protected by the lifejacket of “Gam zu letovah – This too is for the good,” and “Whatever the Merciful one does is for the best.”
I hardly know where to begin with this, so remote is it from my experience of Judaism. Vitality? Meaning and the possibility of earning eternity? Handling difficult situations? None of these reflect my religious reality. I feel such a bad Jew reading this. I don’t think I’m earning much reward and I don’t feel vitality or meaning, nor am I able to handle difficult situations through my trust in HaShem (God). I do what I have to do because that’s what God says, because I happen to believe that the Torah is true and that I should follow it. It looks like I am following because I have an autistic adherence to rules as much as anything more spiritual. I don’t have the personal connection with God that my rabbis and teachers say is necessary to have reward in the Next World (not having a share in Olam HaBa (the Next World) is not a punishment as such, but a reflection of the fact that one has not built a connection with God in the spiritual world through good actions in this world).
I had some strange dreams at night after all this. I had a work anxiety dream. I don’t remember the details, but it was a mash-up of my first two jobs, and I had to go back to work there, except I think I was a volunteer again, rather than a paid employee (I had been a volunteer in the first library I worked in before being paid). I also dreamt about the first woman I asked out, who turned me down and eventually stopped talking to me because of my depression (she was worried she would say the wrong thing and make me suicidal, but her stopping talking to me actually made me suicidal). I stop thinking about her for long periods, particularly when I’m dating, but then she comes back to my mind. In some ways she matters as much to me as the two women I was actually in proper relationships with. At any rate, we were friends for quite a long time. I do periodically google her, so I know she’s married with children and living in Israel. Sometimes I wish I could just tell her that, yes, I’m still depressed, but there’s a reason I’m so messed up (autism) and I don’t blame her for what happened, and please would she at least feel pity for me.
I’ve been thinking about her all day and, after Shabbat, playing music that makes me think wistfully about lost love. I wonder if anyone could ever care about me this much? But it’s just fantasy, not real love. I suppose I don’t really care about her, I care about her as she was fifteen years ago, when I last saw her, and she would say I care about an image of her in my mind, not the real her. She said if I liked myself more, I would fall in love with someone more like myself; I still think she was a lot like me, more so than the two women I have actually dated (both of whom I thought at times that I was almost certain to marry), but obviously not enough. It’s never enough, really. I’m never enough for anyone.
After Shabbat I spent some time starting to paint my Doctor Who miniatures. I like having a hobby that isn’t just reading or writing (as I seem to have stopped jogging), but I can tell that I don’t paint miniatures as well as I did in my teens. I’m not sure how much is patience or skill – it’s just another thing I seem to be less good at than I was years ago. I feel that I’m becoming useless. The fact that my hand shakes when I’m trying to paint the fine detail doesn’t really help. I painted for about an hour, excluding preparation and tidying time, but then my attention began to wane and I started getting a headache, probably not from paint fumes (they are very small pots of paint), but I thought it was a good idea to stop. I basically finished K9 (because he’s easy), but the Doctors will require a lot more work. I hope to spend some time on it in the next fortnight, before I have to start work.