You Take the Good, You Take the Bad…
February 9, 2013 8 Comments
This week has been a roller coaster for me, in more ways than one. It began with the awesomeness that is NANOG (#57). I spoke on security issues in sensor networks in the security track (not many questions, but did get some positive feedback from another fellow who runs a large sensor network offering, so I think it was well-received). A highlight was of course seeing Ren & Joe, old friends long missed:
along with many other awesome folks: Lee, Tony, Paul, Patrick, Jason, Warren, Blaine – it’s like getting the band back together. There is the literal roller coaster – SeaWorld’s Manta was open to us one night, although paired with beer that could have been bad but happily wasn’t.
The restaurants in Orlando are a LOT better than they used to be: I remember getting hate mail from giving a bad review to a previous lousy place. Happily, both Cohen’s Deli and Orlando Kosher on Wheels (schwarma) are quite good (we had ~25 NANOGers go to KoW).
A great conference (duh: anytime there’s 500 people smarter than me I can learn from, I’m thrilled). But of course, time moves on, and folks were happy to tell me about their kids, and that’s what brings me to the other half of the roller coaster.
Infertility sucks. And I mean really sucks. Sarah wrote beautifully about it – I will never equal her eloquence – but I suspect that my experience is a little bit different than hers in this as we stumble down the path together. For one, I’m older, and as much as maternal age is what all of the doctors care about, I really, really feel my age sometimes, and it can be quite disconcerting.
There are support groups for women dealing with infertility, but to my knowledge nothing for men – in fact, the groups explicitly exclude men, as though men have nothing to do with this (!) or might not be hurting along with women. I find myself noting unpleasant passages in prayer (eg psalm 29 “Hashem lamabul yashav” – “God was enthroned at the flood”) and the like, and l looking at blessings with an ironic detachment (“you will live to see your children’s children” – ps 126, brings a “yeah, right”).
I feel an existential loneliness – an abandonment by God – that pains me in ways I can’t even put into words. I am still here, and I still cling to the mitzvot, as they are all I have to frame life and try to follow God’s will. I desperately want to do the right thing, and I try to discern what that is, but lately I feel like I’m shrouded in opacity, blind to the transcendent. And it hurts.
So I muddle along, riding the roller coaster. Hey look: Sarah made an awesome meatloaf! Along with a great Elvi Rioja! Yay! Ooh- lots of extremely cute children at lunch- sigh. Such is my sinusoidal existence right now.