© 2020 Drew T. Noll

Friday, January 6, 2012

Angels and Demons

Life has its ups and downs. I am starting to wonder if I am going through male menopause or something. Not to make little of female menopause, since I have absolutely 'no' idea what that must be like (kind of like giving birth); but, I just seemed to have been getting overwhelmed on every level imaginable over the last few months. My wonderfully insightful wife tells me that it must have something to do with my mother, who has been battling cancer, mental illness, and spiritual dismemberment. But, it is more than just that. For instance, when my mom began her most recent downward self-awakening realization, it was about the same time as my son was fighting for his position in the IDF. For those of you that don't know, he was in the Pilot's Course, not because he enjoyed flying or had dreamed about it for his entire life, but because he just found himself there. He passed all the tests and got in. He didn't like flying. Even when he was a kid he hated roller-coasters. He hated loud noises and ran from fireworks. Anything that caused him to extricate from the 'known' agenda, the path at hand, he was adamantly against. Yes, this is why he fell from the course. After 10 flights, doing all kinds of acrobatics and 'who knows what,' he fell. He doesn't like to fly. Well, he is OK with flying, I guess, since he is still in the Air Force, but he just doesn't like to 'drive' the plane...

At every step of the way, I was rooting for him to succeed. I prayed about it, I dreamed about it, and I encouraged him about it, all to try and give him as 'much' as I possibly could for him to succeed at being… 'him.' I even sent my angels to him, so much so, that I would find myself feeling physically ill at times. What, are angels an imaginary thing to you? Well, they aren’t to me. I have been around long enough and learned enough to know that we live in a temporal place, a place of action. What we do matters in this world, both here and beyond. So, I sent my angels to help him be 'him.' I also sent them to my mother when she was diagnosed with cancer, which, since it was about the same time, I was left feeling quite weak and overwhelmed by life. I started getting tripped-up with the foreign language that I need to speak every day, I started to become more challenged with a potentially dead-end job, I started getting more and more frustrated with the pig-headedness of the locals all around me, and I even had my first ever (in 5 1/2 years) doubts about moving my family to the Middle East. Israel had lost its allure, my praying became much harder to accomplish, as I lost that 'special' feeling I used to get when wearing Tefillin (phylacteries), I began to seek distractions in this temporal world, and I stopped writing for the most part.

So, what do you do when you fall down? I guess the Psalmist said it best: "A righteous man falls and gets up 7 times…" So, it must 'all' be about getting up, then. It's like the whole City of Refuge thing in the Torah. There is a law that states that a person, who inadvertently kills someone, must flee to a City of Refuge. We are even commanded to erect signposts on every crossroads to direct the murderers when they fall down. We aren't commanded to erect signposts to direct the pilgrims to Jerusalem, but murderers to a place of safety, a place of refuge from 'justified' revenge seekers. The fallen are encouraged to get up again, and again, and again...

So, since my angels had mostly fled (at my command of course), I found that in order to get up again, to get my angels to rally once more, I had to reach down into my roots. What is it that I have always done, what I have always had, the way that I used to attract my angels to do my spiritual bidding? That was easy for me. I have been making art since I was in in Mr. Gillespie's third grade class (you know the word for artist in Hebrew is Amen, as in faith, belief, etc…). So, while continuing to fall in many areas in my life, I attempted to get up again, and again, and again... I began to paint. For lack of a studio, I found that painting my kitchen cabinet doors was an adequate solution, so I painted them. I painted a mural that spanned my newly gained knowledge of the philosophically driven origins of existence – of the meaning of life and my journey within it. With monsters and devils, with angels and visions, with this world and the one before, I have been making a physical representation of my life, the world we all live in, and what may come to be. I have been trying to pick myself back up…

Amen and Shabbat Shalom!