The Last Strike On The Last Out
I had such a good Yamim Noraim last year. I decided to try something new and daven at a Vazikin (buttcrack of dawn) minyan in a different community where I have several dear friends and it was the bomb.edu. Vazikin minyans get in and out fast which works for me because I cannot focus and am a heathen who doesn't really care about prayer. But last year I focused more than normal and I only took one bathroom break per day which is HUGE for me (my average is 22.) Yes, I daydreamed, but I also took a lot of time saying the words and spent some time talking to Hashem. And my Yom Tov wasn't ruined by well intentioned members of my home community looking sadly at me and saying "this is your year" or "I could really feel your tefillos" or other balogna. Plus I didn't see a single kid that I used to babysit for cradling a baby bump like it was something precious like Taylor Swift concert tickets.
For Yom Kippur I was home but I also davened Vazikin and the best thing was there was no women there. Women suck. Almost as much as men. They get it into their heads that they should sing along or bring their kids who clearly cannot handle the 30 second drive to Kroger much less Yom Kippur davening or they say stuff to me when I just want to be left alone. Then I went home, took a four hour nap, read a book about astrology (because I don't want G-D to have over the top expectations of me from the get go) and went back to shul for a great Mincha and Neilah. I even paid attention for my favorite torah reading of the year: the Mincha one about sex where it says we read it on Yom Kippur because men may be looking at the hot ladies who are in shul once a year and I'm like I smell like a corpse right now if you want me you can have me.
One thing I noticed in the davening last year which I never notice because I am usually in the bathroom (What am I doing in the bathroom? Good question. Well first of all I try to go to the furthest possible bathroom to waste time on the walk. Then I'll check all the other bathrooms to see who else is a bad Jew. Then I'll go look in on the kids groups to make sure no one is being abused. Then I get cold so I take a walk outside. Then I go look at the hot policeman who only works on Yamim Noraim and have thoughts that are definitely not appropriate for the day of awe. Then I probably ask him for a score from a game. When I run out of games I care about I move on to games I don't care about. Then I check on the other minyanim and see what they are up to and have anxiety that I didn't pick the fastest minyan. Then I check if the Rabbi is speaking yet because one time in his Yom Tov sermon he mentioned the queen and another time he told us cheating on our spouses is bas which I loved because I physically cannot do that aveirah so I felt really special and holy that year. Then I do some stretches. Then I go back in to davening for another few paragraphs and to count how many pages are left (and divide in two for the english side and don't forget if you are on day one, there are concluding bits at the end of day two you need to count) and then I start all over.) is that in one of the paragraphs I usually leave for Hashem delineates exactly how the service in the beis hamikdash should occur down to the lowest detail. I read all of it and I was like wow Hashem really cares about every single little detail. Just like I do when it comes to planning my wedding.
Then I gave a heart felt plea to Hashem that He should allow me to build my home this year with the detail that He build His home. And, since I didn't have two hours of dead time to lose my mind in, I really focused on the prayer and felt very connected.
That was it, I decided. I had finally found the part I was missing and this was the year that I was going to get married.
And I started off strong. I davened mincha more than once. I didn't tell any children that G-D doesn't exist. I felt bad while watching Handmaid's Tale.
And of course some really terrible things happened to me this year both in and out of my dating life and I lost steam. I wrote some articles on here that made some of you reach out to check if I was ok and thanks guys, but you don't have to worry about me because Taylor Swift is releasing a new album and I will not do anything that will hurt my chances of hearing that.
But now we are back to Yom Tov. I'm going to replicate my Rosh Hashana experience and I found a new shul with a Vazikin minyan for Yom Kippur. I hope it will work. But, as I have had every time this year rolls around for the last 8 years, I am angry. Because last year I davened really hard at one point, or cried a lot, or had enough misery that Hashem (in my opinion) should have looked down and said: Ok Archer. I'm sorry you had to wait so long. This is your year. And as a consolation prize for the waiting you are going to meet Taylor Swift.
But He hasn't.
He's blessed me in other ways but I often wonder if I would trade those blessings in to be married and have a family. Usually I think that I would.
And then there are years like this one where I did great at davening and a lot of bad stuff happened. I doubled up on reasons I need to get married. And He sent me guys who hurt me. I worked on myself to be more open and vulnerable and fix my issues and all it did was expose me to pain.
How am I supposed to know that and daven this year?
I recognize that I don't have cancer or a phone with filters on it or anything else horrific in my life: my life is relatively good. I also recognize that I am down to TWO SINGLE FRIENDS and they NEVER want to go out and I am stuck saying the Nicole Kidman thing at the movies BY MYSELF while people STARE AT ME and probably feel bad for me. And my married friends have husbands they have to "spend time with" and children who need to "be fed and clothed and bathed" and none of them want to come to a twelve hour Twilight movie marathon with me because of that.
This year the last game of major league baseball's regular season is being played on Yom Kippur. It is not a stretch to say that the out that decides playoffs for some teams could potentially happen during Neilah. There are going to be pitchers and batters and coaches that really feel Neilah this year.
I want to try and feel it but I feel like I'm that team that was mathematically eliminated from the post season in July. I can pray for next season but who says I'm going to get a good trade? Who says what I'm working with will be any better than what I worked with this year?
But there are teams who went from last place to first in a few years. That's why we love sports: they make the impossible happen every now and again. My World Series feels impossible but at the start of next season I have the same chance as every other team.
So I'll go to Shul and I'll do it again and I'll be resentful and hopeful and treat G-D like a vending machine that I can bang on when it doesn't spit out my candy and I'll beg and cry and take 45 minute bathroom breaks and I'll try and try and try to be better and like the old ladies in my shul I'll hope that this is my year.
I can't lie and say I'm good at it or that the thought doesn't make me want to curse at the sky.
But I'm still here. I hope that counts for something.