(This was originally posted on the Times of Israel on 1.2.13)
Sometimes I imagine I am a woman on her death bed.
How else to explain the sense of wonder I have the minute I pull out of my driveway each morning to head to work?
Before I even leave the boundaries of my small community in Northern Israel, my head turns from side to side looking out the car window for a sign of nature’s wonder.
Morning light breaking through a stunning cloud formation overhead.
The sun rising over the Eshkol Reservoir.
The first kalanit popping up in the fields lining the road into our neighborhood.
Who else does this but a woman about to die?
Sometimes I catch myself imagining I am her — a woman on her death bed.
I am paralyzed. Frightened.
Could it be true?
What if it was?
And then I laugh with the realization that it is true.
We all are.
We are born to die.
And as much as we fear it, we spend our lives rushing towards it…towards death.
Rushing through breakfast; pushing the kids out the door; grabbing three different bags – a laptop bag, a lunch bag, a pocketbook – and throwing them into the back seat. We drink a to-go cup of coffee on the way. We turn on the radio and scan the words for news. News that will help us make decisions; make us feel right; make us feel wrong.
Get us there quicker.
We breeze by our coworkers; we tweet through our days. Our fingers sore from scrolling, from typing, from pointing.
Who else but a woman about to die notices the teeny tiny wren perched on the tallest branch of a pine tree across the street from the entrance to Rafael?
Who else catches through her passenger side window the hearty laugh of a teenage girl in a bronze glittery head scarf waiting for the bus to Karmiel?
Who else but a woman on the brink of demise notices the blend of hope and fear on the faces of the black men – the ones standing on the side of the kikar at the entrance to Kfar Manda — as she passes them during rush hour?
Who else but a woman about to die?
We characterize our behavior as “living,” but really we are rushing towards death. Getting there quicker, richer, righter.
Until we stop.
And in the moment we stop – in the slow minutes spent behind a tractor trailer chugging up a hill, for instance – we slow down death.
We drink in life.
Jen Maidenberg is a writer, editor, activist and former assistant editor at the Arizona Jewish Post. Visit her website at http://jenmaidenberg.com/