Want to keep in the loop on the latest happenings at Chabad of Cary. Subscribe to our mailing list below. We'll send you information that is fresh, relevant, and important to you and our local community.
Printed from ChabadofCary.org

Embracing Opposite Emotions

Monday, 23 March, 2020 - 11:33 am

 Have you ever had an epiphany that was so simple yet so profound?

I had one such experience some years ago. I was reading a reflection from a very special Chabad rabbi who had lost his wife at a young age leaving him widowed with young children. The Rabbi described attending a family member’s wedding a short while after his wife’s passing. His grief and mourning knew no bounds; may no one ever know of such sorrow. At the same time he described the joy he felt that night for his dear family member who was celebrating the happiest day of his life. And so, though the last thing he felt like doing that night was dancing, he allowed himself to be pulled into the circle of dancers. To be lifted for a few moments into a different world. A world of joy and bliss. The dancing that had previously felt like a dishonor to the grief and sorrow, now took its place in juxtaposition to the joy and celebration. With unbelievable inner strength, he had carved out a space in his heart for both emotions to rest.

I read it a few times. I pondered its deep message. And then it hit me. So simple, yet so profound.

Our hearts can carry and even embrace two opposite emotions. And to embrace one emotion does not mean to deny the other one.

May no one ever have to internalize this message in the wake of such horrific tragedy. But think about it on a smaller scale. How many times a week we grapple with this very challenge.

“How can I cook dinner for her after her recent surgery? Do you know how badly she hurt my feelings last month?”

“How can I come to Shabbat services? Do you know how much anger I feel towards G-d?”

“I cannot show up to that community gathering. I am feeling too down to be around people right now.”

Two emotions. Both feel very raw and very real.

Compassion and hurt. Anger and Connection. Participation and Isolation.

They feel mutually exclusive. But they are not.

Our hearts can carry and even embrace two opposite emotions. And to embrace one does not mean to deny the other one.

Where do we get the strength for this?

In one word: G-d. We need to be touched by the Infinite.

The more we work to bring G-d into every facet of our daily lives and deepen our faith in Him, the more space we make for this miracle to occur .

Because to connect with G-d, the great Infinite Almighty G-d, is to tap into the Infinite within ourselves. A place that is not limited to one emotion or the other. A place in which two opposite emotions can comfortably reside. Without being in conflict with one another.

In addition, a life lived with G-d at its center, a life that we recognize is not lived of our own accord, opens us up to G-d’s call of the hour to us at a given moment. When we are feeling sad, down, afraid etc. we are cognizant of the fact that we answer to a Higher Power- G-d, and what He asks of us at this particular time. It empowers us with the ability to embrace bravery, joy, compassion, and connection even if we’re feeling anything but that.

This is G-d’s call of the hour to me at this moment.

G-d is asking that I embrace both emotions right now.

And He is giving me the strength to do so.

As a nation, we have lived with this reality throughout our long and difficult exile. We have carried the hardships of “Galus” with broken hearts and tear filled eyes. And yet, those very same hearts and minds have carried abounding faith, joy, optimism, perseverance, and Jewish pride, determined to make the world a bright, kind, and G-dly place. May we merit the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days, when no longer will our hearts have to carry emotions that seem to tug us in opposing directions. Rather we will be filled with ONLY joy, faith, connection, peace, and G-dliness.

Comments on: Embracing Opposite Emotions
There are no comments.