Enough, For Now
I’ve been trying to make sense of the time period that we are living in right now.
We have been bombarded with endless adversity: global pandemics of many kinds of ills– hatred, illness, and injustice. The world is in so much pain.
Typically on Layers, I take it one story at a time. I unwrap each narrative, explore it in a deep way, and engage in meaningful conversations. One-at-a-time is a powerful format because it gives space to be patient and to have the emotional wherewithal to listen and process.
Right now the global challenges have piled up. It’s hard for me to engage with one issue at a time, in a time when it feels like there isn’t room to do so.
I am having a hard time making meaning of everything that is blaring on my newsfeed, cornering my community, or coming into my own home. It’s not that my heart is numb: on the contrary, I am feeling so much. But it’s too much to make sense of all at once.
Meaning-making has been a huge part of my healing process, from all things that have ailed in my life. It’s creating a map and discovering where I stand and where I need to go. It’s the lighthouse in the stormy night that finds me and helps me find my way home. Sometimes it’s the period at the end of a sentence that gives a sense of closure and purpose.
But right now, I feel overwhelmed.
I have decided that for me, right now I can’t make meaning of this moment. I keep waiting for a break in the turmoil. I need to be able to take a breath and a beat to make sense of it all. That moment hasn’t come yet.
I need to pivot my perspective.
Some days my faith is going to carry me through. Others, when it is harder to access that, I will choose to focus on my life and family at home. As a global community, we are continuing major adjustments and transitions into different ways of living, thinking, and being. Living with adjustment is part of life, but now life is demanding that we live in adjustment constantly. Yet we are also stuck in the sameness of things not being the way they were, with no end in sight.
I am no longer going to pressure myself to understand the bigger picture.
I am going to continue to take it one moment at a time.
I am going to appreciate the blessings that I can see in front of me, and that I pray are operating behind the scenes.
I am going to take care of myself; breathe, play, laugh, connect, and hope.
I am going to listen and transition to the best of my ability.
I am going to be open to meaning but I won’t force orchestrating it.
And that will have to be enough, for now.
Shira Lankin Sheps grew up in New Jersey and went to Stern College for women. After graduating from Hunter College School of Social Work with her MSW in clinical social work, she worked in the clinical field, in marketing and photojournalism.
She decided to start The Layers Project to help break down stigma and promote healing within our Jewish community.
She feels strongly about presenting women, who are so often shown as shallow characters or fully removed from Jewish media spaces, as three-dimensional individuals whose lives are full and rich with resilience.
Shira made aliyah with her family two years ago to Jerusalem.
Headshot taken by Tzipora Lifchitz.