Feeling helpless is nothing new for me.
My late wife was diagnosed with melanoma in 1986; she died in 1993. That’s good basic training in helplessness, if you ask me.
I live in the Middle East, where insoluble conflict is the leitmotif of everyday life. I have sat around for weeks with a gas mask next at my side as Saddam bombed Israel. And when Hamas bombed Israel. And when Hezbollah bombed Israel. I have heard the explosion of 3 terror attacks: the “fridge incident” in Jerusalem, as well as a bus station and shopping centre in the suburb where I live.
And now, Corona!
Everything has changed; there is absolutely nothing that I can do. Total helplessness. No swimming. No history studies, no Friday concerts, no Wednesday morning lectures on dreams, my clients are in lock down, and unlike 99% of social media users, I am not working remotely. (Nor do I plan to, nor do I like to)
So where is the meat? Or is there any meat? It really depends on what you call meat.
Being helpless is a very different thing than feeling helpless. Once you accept helplessness, it is an act of spiritual liberation, since you are freed from trying to gain control. And giving up control can help banish worrying.
I have struggled with “worrying” for as long as I can remember, yet the more I experience helplessness, the less I worry. That has been the major gift I have taken away from the present crisis.
I was to have had cataract surgery on 26.3. I waited 7 months for the top surgeon in Israel. My surgery was cancelled two days beforehand. No worry. It will happen, or it won’t. So I won’t drive at night. But what if I have to? Don’t think about it.
Free at last.