Monday evening. Soccer practice brought up complicated emotions, as it always does. The sight of strong young girls cavorting on the pitch, some still young enough to skip as they shag balls that have soared through the yawning and unnetted goalposts. The light fading a few minutes earlier each evening, as though I required a reminder that the world outside this sunlit field becomes a darker, less welcoming place by the day.
This morning, I was revising a chapter in the memoir I’ve been laboring over. The experience of growing up with my father and grandparents—Holocaust survivors, all of them—and failing to comprehend how their painful silence was in turn shaping me. Now, finally, seeing them as people stunted and corroded by their experience; their emotions exiled, their worldview diminished.
How do I keep the light of hope alive for my daughter as she grows into girlhood, into a world that feels as though it’s collapsing in on itself, where hatred of the Jews is no longer ancient history, but merely another blip in the torrent of horror that is the news?
I am walking a thin line here. My forebears kept their pain and their fear inside, and they raised a lonely child, unsure of his place in the world. I have the choice of letting my feelings show, but cannot bear to invite anxiety to roost in my blithe and happy little girl.
I’m not a praying man, but I’m asking for strength right now. Strength to face this world with an open heart, clear eyes, strong arms. Let me accept what is true without letting go of who I know myself to be. I want to live.