The Safety Net
Loss of the Comfort Zone
From infancy to
adulthood, our greatest comfort is our mother.
The woman who protects us from all possible evil, who heals our wounds,
who tells us she loves us unconditionally come what may.
We feel both protected and accepted by her and when in pain can share our
anxieties, our feelings with her, and know she will understand and exude a
healing atmosphere around our very being. We
are a part of her and feel protected and accepted .
We can be ourselves. Our
successes are adulated and our
failures are minimized. When the
infant takes his/her first steps, the joy that the Mom exudes is indescribable;
if he falls, he is picked up, kissed and held.
In short, he can do no wrong.
As the child grows, there
are expectations. He must earn his
love. He must reciprocate.
He must respond. He must do
the “right thing,” whatever that may be.
He must please his parents, his surroundings. He begins to see their
flaws, their shortcomings. Regardless,
he must honor them and he must go “den graden Derach” (the straight and
honest path). This is where the ten
commandments come into play. The ten
commandments teach what is important. If
we love and honor our parents we are rewarded with a long life.
As time passes, the grown child chooses, either consciously or otherwise,
his life’s work, which includes his education.
In a healthy Jewish or religious home he still has his Mom or Dad to
consult, to emulate, or not, but Mom especially is always there to listen, to
advise if called upon, to encourage.
The life cycle continues
and parents grow old. The
dependence, mostly psychological, continues.
It is the love, the understanding, the innermost familiarity, the
memories, experiences that are there. Often
the child wants to be the parent. If
she/ he has wisdom and love, he will value Mom and Dad’s need for
independence. She will do when the
need is essential and allow the parents' dignity to remain. She will value their
wisdom, their abilities, their strengths.
The most traumatic
experience that the adult son or daughter encounters is the death of the beloved
parent. The safety net disappears.
There will never be another which resembles the relationship.
The creation of the human body and “Neshome” (soul) from pre-birth to
the end of life. The parent will
never leave the consciousness of the offspring in one way or another. We can
observe that in the very old person who will ask to see her mother when she
is allegedly waiting for her. The
actuality is not there but in the mind of the person thus pleading to be loved
and protected, it very much exists. It
feels very frightening to be unprotected and rejected.
The comfort that the child experienced has vanished, leaving the
distressed older adult needy and wanting. The loving adult “child” will hug
their loved one and let her know that she understands and misses her mother, but
verbalizes that he or she is there and loves her.
Men too miss their parent but have somewhat other ways of expressing
their loneliness and needs.
The orthodox person gets
their comfort zone from their strong belief that “hashem” will give solace.
In all religious people, G’d is very much present in their psyche in
the way in which they respond.
It is a great
“Mitzwah” (good deed / blessing) to enable others to find their comfort
zone. As we have experienced in our lives, it often feels better to give and to
share rather than receive. Comfort
zones can be given without cost to the “Nadven.”
Let us respect and honor our fellow Jews, our family, our neighbors, and
all those who need solace and a comfort zone.