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A Flightpath Lament

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

These words are offered up as a flightpath lament, in hopes of releasing the deadening combination of generosity, impotence, and resignation. Hope flits around the edges, as Emily Dickinson might say, but time will tell whether my own work can begin in earnest in these next days. Brian’s next attempt has yet to board, so I write-work at a coffee shop within 10 minutes’ drive of the airport.

The stats of the flightpath are these:

4 cancelled flights

2 airlines

3 airports (Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton)

638 miles on the car, 617 of them within 25 hours

46 hours of Brian’s attempts to get to his international flight to Tel Aviv (so far)

(the first two options for which of course he didn’t make)

He and I got really clear on what our language pointed to: lament. No one’s responsibility. Nothing to be done about it, except discern which offers of help were actually helpful. [We may have a new refrain in our home for the inability of New Yorkers to understand how different life actually is here in Ohio vs. their own settings. “Take a train!” came one text from a particularly clueless rabbi (in this respect; in other ways, he’s charming and brilliant). And to be fair, a couple New Yorkers actually were helpful, getting us back to a Dayton flightpath possibility.] But Brian’s repeated apologies to me as I ferried him from one airport to the next, from one failed possibility to the next, finally landed us into the framework that was communicative and helpful. Lament. Two days of my own writing work gone. Two days of my own psychological screaming at wanting to be so helpful and being completely impotent to fix or make any of it better.

Needless to say, there was a stiff gin martini last night waiting for me when I got out of the shower.

I kept trying to return my breath and mind to the divine order of things, to the half-full perspectives to help us to the next step(s). Ultimately, I failed at that. Why rage at it all when it doesn’t do anyone any good, least of all, my own digestion, body?

A close-up look at my own incapacity for powerlessness, I guess. Facing challenges for myself, I’d like to say I’m better at it. Hard to say, given all my experiences of this particular “getting to NY area for an international flight to Tel Aviv” have woven either direct responsibility (for students) or indirect responsibility (for those I love, to get where he needs to be). Always that feeling of responsibility and utter impotence.

Makes me see in a new lens how carefully I choose to see responsibility… If one truly cares in an open-hearted way for all those one meets–human beings, animals, creatures of all kinds–the emotional weight is stunning. To then feel responsible for social change or ecological change?

Powerlessness and impotence. A good if painful teacher for me to listen to, methinks.

For now, however? Recovery day, perhaps a long bike ride after a writing circle this afternoon...

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1 Comment

Jun 27, 2023

Stress from one spouse is 100% shared by the other spouse! Grateful for today's small miracles and for the martini!



Hess Condensed

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