Fearing fear

I sit here. It is a Sunday afternoon. I sit here staring at my laptop, staring at the top left portion of the screen, which plays the livestream of a young boy’s funeral, Ezra Schwartz from Massachusetts, a young boy whom I have never met. A young boy whom I will never have the chance to meet. I listen to his family, to his friends, to the stories they tell about him, to the life they unravel that he led. It is awful and yet so terribly captivating. I cannot turn it off. I know none of these people, nor the stories, nor their memories. And yet, I feel captivated and strong together in their mourning.
I have not written a blog post in years. My last blog posts were written by a girl I do not even know exists anymore. She was a girl who was in awe of Israel, a country she had never been to, and was experiencing for the first time. She was in love with a country she felt connected to. She was in love with the idea of a peaceful future. She was in love with the idea and the feeling of hope. She explored a country she was just getting to know and felt invincible. She traveled to places she did not think twice and she saw the world with hopeful spectacles.
Now I sit here, as I write a blog post many years later, and wonder what has happened to that girl. What happened to that girl who I once was? Was I just naive? Was I just young? So many tragedies have struck since I was that girl and I do not feel that same hope, that same light. I just feel hopeful that another tragedy will not strike again, or at least not soon. I just feel hope that we all will be given time to grieve, time to understand, time to remember. Time is all I hope for.
What I fear the most is the fear that I now have within me. Fear I never used to have. Last night, I had a short conversation with my husband about some of the stories I had read about that took place in the Bataclan during the Paris attacks. I felt the need to share with him the horrifying details I had read about moments before our conversation. It was as if I needed to shock him, to let him know that things were worse than he probably thought. I did not need to shock him. He knew. We spoke for a few moments and then hung up. I called him a few minutes later and frantically asked him about what we should do now. I asked him, in a hypothetical tone, about what we should do now, what should we do about going here, being there…in other words, how we should go about living life. I asked him about going to Europe, about going to Israel, about just being in certain places from here on out, just to be reassured by a fearless man that the world does not stop. We live amongst animals. But, we will keep moving; we will keep living. We do not stop.
But, as I hung up the phone, I realized what scared me the most. It was the fear I felt. It was the fear of things happening and how I would escape, what I would do, how and if I would live. This was very far from that girl who traveled the streets of Hebron exploring a complicated and contested history. This was very far from the girl who danced and sang in the Parisian streets. And this was very far from the girl who loves to run in marathons because that feeling at the end is the feeling of freedom and invisibleness.
I sure hope that fear has not robbed us all. I sure hope that as we continue to mourn for those who have been brutally robbed of their lives, we will continue to live ours. And I sure hope that that girl who I once was, I will continue to be. Exploring, dancing, singing, living, and feeling free.