I’m ready to write about my new crew, my new friends, my fellow students, my classmates.
I’ve been hesitant to share.
I referenced “class,” but never named the topic. I just wasn’t sure how I felt about it nor what others would think.
You see, I’ve been a staunch agnostic for a good two decades. I believe in the Big Bang. I believe in evolution, I believe in climate change. The scientific method I believed could be applied to all of life. Things not only could be proven, but had to be seen.
And God hadn’t come to my window. I had no direct line. How was I to KNOW?
But I also wasn’t a total nonbeliever. Never an atheist. You can’t deny that most people in the world believe in a higher power. That’s a real data point that can’t be overlooked. We’re talking about billions of people coming to the same conclusion from all different walks of life. And most doctors that I’ve asked about the topic, who were willing to share, believe too. “There are things I’ve seen that can’t be explained by science.” Even Einstein believed.
AND you never “know know,” even science disproves established “truths” in the field with a new discovery a decade later. And science isn’t even close to having all the answers. We are just a speck in a greater universe.
However, given my circumstances…it is hard to just believe. How can there be a God with children with cancer? It is hard to reconcile.
But here I am on my search for Why. Every Tuesday night from 8:30-9:30 I go to religious class. To be specific I go to kabbalah class.
How did I get here?
It’s not the obvious. It wasn’t just a mother looking for miracles. I didn’t crawl back to religion out of hysteria, although I did do that a month later. But no. That is not how this journey began.
It started with physics.
In my search. Nope. That’s not the right word. In my spiral for the WHY, I landed on quantum physics. Yes. Quantum physics. It happened fast…i was reading about the space-time continuum only two weeks after Jacob’s diagnosis. I was thirsty for the WHY and there I was within a few days of searching reading physics.
It was easy to get there. Just ask THE questions and you will get there.
Why did this happen?!!
That was the big question and in order to answer it I spiraled into the following:
Why does disease happen?
Why do some have it and others don’t?
What does it mean to be human?
Why do we exist?
Are humans just made of cells that havea predetermined future?
Can we change our biological make up?
How did humans get this make up?
What happened before the big bang?
And it always led to…
How can I stop it? How can I change the course of life? Who has the reigns here?
HOW CAN I SAVE MY SON?!
And without boring you… I started reading quantum physics texts.
And in the texts, I found sidebars the “did you know” sections where they spoke about scholars from centuries prior to modern-day who had these insights into the workings of the world as quantum physicists now know. Before the tools to measure. Before telescopes to see matter light-years away. Before it all! these scholars had wisdom way beyond their years.
The scholars all held the title of rabbi.
And that felt interesting.
So I looked these rabbis up.
The rabbis were Kabbalists. All of them.
Hmmmm….they seem to be anomalies too.
And on that same day, a Nightwing friend suggested I meet with a Kabbalist rabbi. Bam. Same day. I kid you not.
And although, at that point in time, I didn’t know there was no such thing as coincidences, I still followed this suggestion and went. It was the only time in the first month of Jacob’s treatment that I went somewhere beyond his hospital bed.
But I was coming in hot.
“Hey rabbi I’ve had two rare cancers in six months and one includes my five year old child. Where is God in this? Can you explain this to me?” good luck!
I was coming in with years of baggage of my experience with Judaism and my skepticism of organized religion in general. Have you seen the things done in the name of God?!
I had many preconceived ideas. Some good but mostly negative. I was ready to be hit with a donation. I was ready to not connect with the orthodox man I was to sit across with. I was ready for a comment like “God has his reasons.”
I do not accept that.
I do not.
It doesn’t make logical sense. You don’t make a creation to watch it suffer. That sounds like a waste of time. And all religions share the common belief that God is good. That is a critical assumption. So I was ready to fight.
But to win I had to be knowledgeable so I read up on Kabbalah. I was going to be prepared.
But I found no fodder.
I left my research confused. I was mostly boggled by the first tenet of Kabballah. “No blind Faith.” I remember reading it over and over. Isn’t that the core of all religions? How can you believe in God without blind faith?
And then I learned that Kabbalah does believe in the big bang and that science only supports its teachings.
And I found myself having to read each page multiple times. It was the hardest text I’ve ever consumed. Each sentence layered.
But it wasn’t until I met my classmates that I knew I had found my place. There in my jewish class were Asians, African Americans, catholics, etc. My partner was named Dominique he is a veteran of Vietnam. I loved the diversity. I loved that the doors are open to all walks of life. I didn’t play a role. I wasn’t the “white girl of privilege,” I was just there as human.
And the teachings sent a message of love. And it’s purpose is to answer the WHY!
A class on the WHY?! I was all ears. I am still all ears.
And now I understand the premise of no blind belief. Instead Kaballah promises certainty. No need to take our word for it, you will find your own certainty. Just ask for it.
It was the most beautiful word anyone every said to me.
I don’t get that much.
I get this “expected.”
That is the word that is the answer to any question.
And “expected” can be applied to “anything” included the “unexpected.”
We are warned to “expect anything” and even “expect the unexpected.”
I HATE this word.
And I am EXPECTED to just accept it.
Why are we expecting to make children so sick?
And how can we give a drug that literally anything can happen? How is “expect the unexpected” acceptable?
I can’t live like this!!
I’ll take you up on this offer of certainty. It frankly is the best offer I’ve gotten.
This I can rally behind. I want that! I don’t want to wish. I don’t want to believe. I want to KNOW. I will settle for nothing than that. I want to be CERTAIN that Jacob will be okay. I want to be CERTAIN on how to solve cancer so no child goes through this again.
So I’m studying.
I’m not there yet, but I know I’m on the right path only because this group knows something that I am CERTAIN about with all my being. COMMUNITY. This place is all about community. But a community like no other.
Usually, communities are built by homogenous groups and often the definition of the group can exclude others. Country clubs are a great example. Sure they are a community built around this silly sexist game called golf, but is it true community with a greater purpose, can anyone join? I doubt it. Even school has a limited community view. School communities are 99% driven by your address and your address is driven by your income. Not everyone is welcomed and you will most likely find a bunch of people just like yourself.
However, my new community has ALL different walks of life and only shares one thing in common, a deep drive to make the world a better place.
And there are 1,000’s of them!!
I sat next to an African American woman and a woman from Brazil. Never once did we not feel one. Never once did we question each other’s motives. We were all there because we cared for the greater good in the world. It was a CRAZY experience. I never knew this could exist.
It just makes me hopeful.
The world is going to be okay. I’ve met 1,000’s of people who are committed to this cause.
So I rang in the new year with my new crew.
And guess what?! They dance!!! They don’t stop dancing. Clapping. Jumping. And I think I heard some hollers! Look! And Look! I think this crew would really like to dance to Don’t Stop Believing. I may suggest that:)
I didn’t sit to rise or rise to sit. I just danced the night away with my new crew. My new crew from ALL over the world.
I’m not sharing this because you should become a Kabbalist. I just share because community that stretches beyond race, money, etc. IS POSSIBLE! IT IS!
And I am certain that this is how it all begins. ALL OF IT. It begins here for Jacob. It begins here for all the kids. It begins here for humanity. All you need to do is show up and clap.
That I can do!