Wednesday, April 10, 2002

REALITY INTRUDES
Sorry to all for not generating the typical flood of Suburban Limbo for you this week. Natalie and I got the sad news that a friend passed away last Friday. He was the brother of a couple we know well and his death was quite unexpected. Though he'd been living a somewhat unhealthy and Belushi-inspired lifestyle the past few years, it was thought that he had pulled it together and was on the right course. He was 35 and apparently had a heart attack or something in his sleep.

We attended the service at Temple on Sunday along with 200 other folks and last night, I sat Shivah with family while Natalie pulled a 24-hour work shift. It was quite a gathering. Despite my agnostic leanings, I'm impressed with the beautiful and practical ways the Jewish faith dictates the process of grieving. There is a preset amount of time, a course of actions, roles for all involved. It seems so much more supportive and less mystical than Christian funerals I've attended. From my POV, the Jewish faith accepts the reality and pain of the situation then seeks to help the living heal and move on.

Last night, the Rabbi started the service by announcing he doesn't believe the doctrine "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." That's not my God , he said. Instead, when there's a tragic and unexpected death such as this, he said, My God weeps. And when the community comes together to support the mourning family, my God smiles.

I liked that. And when the service was over, we had cake.

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