community · connection · faith · grace · healing · isolation · laughter · spirituality

Too Hot to Handle

There’s a maxim around here that goes: G-d will never give
you more than you can handle.
To echo Wednesday, bullshit.
I think this phrase is missing a key point at the end of it: G-d will never
give you more than you can handle with the help of others.
I think G-d or the Universe or life will always give us more than we can handle *alone.* I think, in
fact, that’s the point. In order to be able to handle that which is handed us,
we
must reach out for help from
others, or help from “god,” which often comes in the form of help from others
anyway.
I think it’s important that we are given more than we can
handle alone, otherwise, surely, we all would. If we could live like Sandra Bullock in “The Net,” ordering
pizza via the internet, watching a yule log screen saver, and never knowing our
neighbors, we would. But I still think about that movie every time I nod or say
a passing hello to my neighbors: I am not anonymous; I am not alone.
In that movie (sorry, y’all!), Sandra’s character gets
accused of something or other, but no one can identify her, and her identity
gets stolen. No one except one character (her shrink) actually knows who she
is, actually recognizes her. The neighbor says, no she doesn’t think that’s her, even though they’ve
lived in proximity for a dozen years.
What kind of challenge of growth is there in that? If we
were intended to live in isolation, there wouldn’t be all this talk about
connection and community, mehta and helping one another, and my understanding of tikkun
olam
(repairing the world) has a lot to do with
eliminating disconnect.
I opined to my coworker, who was listening to Pandora the
other day when one of these new modern radio songs came on (I don’t remember
which one). But it was one that eventually has a chorus of voices yell, Yeah!,
or Hey!. And I theorized that the proliferation of “modern” songs that feature a chorus of voices at some point is a call for
connection, to refill and replace the actual being with others—if we hear a
chorus of voices yell, Hey!, on the radio, we want to yell along with it, too. For a
moment, we are also connected to those voices, even though they be
computer over-layed with one another.
This “new” sound I hear has a lot of that, and my opinion is
that they’re also trying to create community in the best way they know how, to
create a moment of connection and a feeling of being a part of a crowd…even
when you’re just driving alone in your car, and the person next to you is as
well.
I do think “G-d” gives us more than we can handle. In the utter inability to handle things on our own, I think
we’re intended to reach out to one another or to a “power greater than
ourselves” for help, for guidance, for support, and mostly, for laughter.
The amount of laughter you can have alone is much less than
what you can have in interaction with each other – like I’ve been saying about
random connections with store clerks or bus passengers: You never know what
will be said by the other, and it creates something totally unique.
This morning, with all of this on my mind, in my notebook is
a printed quote by Anais Nin:
Each friend represents a world in
us,
a world possibly not born until
they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that
a new world is born.
I make it a point to say hi, or at least nod to or acknowledge
my neighbors, to let them see my face, and I theirs, as I rush in and out of the building at
the ends of a long day. I want to be able to recognize, and possibly say hi,
when I see them on the street, and, mostly, I want them to be able to pick me
out of a line-up. 

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