Yesterday, as I walked into a friend’s book signing event, a younger (40-something) friend of mine named Lisa came up to me and said, “Oh my God! I just finished your book! I’m making my husband read it! It’s going to be my bible!”
This beautiful young mom went on to say how nuts parenting sometimes is and that all her friends need help – and they want help from me! (WOWZA!) I am ready, willing and able to help!
I feel a special kinship to Lisa because many years ago, when she was going through hell, we had a walking date once a week at Mission Beach in San Diego. Her hell was that her sister Marla was murdered in a terrorist attack in Israel. It’s been so many years that I had to look it up to remember what year it happened – although I will always remember the aftermath.
Here’s what Wikipedia had to say:
“The Hebrew University bombing or the Hebrew University massacre was a terror attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas which occurred on 31 July 2002 in a cafeteria at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The attack killed 9 people, including 5 U.S. students, and injured about 100.”
I knew the beautiful Marla.
She babysat for my kids and worked at our local Jewish Day School. She went to Israel on a scholarship to The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, a scholarship made possible because of a fundraising dinner that I held at my home. That she and the other kids could be extinguished like that was insane. I remember my house being full of her grieving friends who flew in from Jerusalem to attend her memorial service in San Diego. They were all so young, and full of life, like she was, and now they were drowning in pain. Witnessing her fiancé in that bunch was the worst.
Sixteen years have gone by. Just the earth rotating on its axis that many times since then is stunning.
Since 2002, there have been over 34 mass shootings in the US – a staggering number of terrorist attacks that makes the insanity of Marla’s death seem almost normative, which is unbearable. Another random act of hate and beautiful innocents are snuffed out, leaving circles of loved ones, friends, community members, and strangers reeling.
In 2011, Israel exchanged a large group of prisoners, one of whom was the man who murdered Marla, for the life of an Israeli that was being held hostage. Marla’s mom, still grieving her loss, was in favor of the exchange to save the life of the Israeli. She knew Marla would have made the same decision, because life is so precious.
I got home from the book event feeling so much emotion – gratitude and love that Lisa found help in my book, happiness that I can live in the flow of my core value of wanting to ease suffering, melancholy remembering Marla, and fatigue, like a watered down outrage, about man’s inhumanity to man.
I was about to do a meditation to ground myself when I saw this headline:
“Multiple people were killed in a shooting during a video game tournament at a shopping and dining complex in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Sunday afternoon. Four people have died, including the gunman, at the shooting at the Jacksonville Landing, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the incident. Eleven others were injured, the source said.”
Wow. I think this meditation better be a doozy. What a waste. What a tragedy.
May we be safe, may we be happy, may we be healthy, and may we live with ease.