Casual Warfare

If there is one thing that people who live in stable countries don’t understand, it’s how casually a country can slip in and out of war. Perhaps I’m being unfair though – perhaps it is only this odd country, a so-called “Holy Land,” that acts this way. This place, Israel, Palestine, The Land Where Jesus Walked – whatever you want to call it, it has been, and apparently forever will be, a battleground.

It is an extremely odd feeling to realize how casually and nonchalantly we accept the state of warfare and the murderous activities that suddenly flare up around us here. The most people seem to be doing is starting different Facebook groups, so now my inbox there is filled with invitations like: “Join the ‘Boycott all Israeli Arabs!’ group,” “Join the ‘I agree with Israel invading Gazza’ group,” and “Join the ‘Everyone change their profile pictures to the Israeli flag!’ group.”

It’s horrid. It’s horrible. It’s, most of all, weird. It’s not normal to sit at work and hear people getting phone calls about rockets landing in their cities of residence and not to have that bother you particularly. It’s not normal to see people joking on the inter-office emails about how they hope they won’t get blown up on their rides home. It’s not normal to need to wish your coworker to feel better when she leaves work early because of a cold and to tell her in the same breath to be careful and not to leave the house too much.

Every time this country slips casually into war, almost without my noticing, I feel that humankind must be insane.

Painfully Wonderful

There is something especially wonderful about the pleasures one can find in states of great pain. Pain is not a thing that most of us appreciate, nor should we. It’s something our body does to let us know something is wrong – we’re stepping on glass, the music is too loud, we’re straining our muscles too much.

However, migraines are a pain which no one really understands. Scientists and doctors haven’t quite figured out why people get them or how to cure them. As a sufferer of such pains, I will describe them briefly, as they are similar to many other pains that we can have: Constant pain, seeming to go on forever, causing panic and calm alternately. It is a pain which heightens the senses, causing every glimmer of light to be blinding and ever stir of the breeze to be deafening. It is a pain that makes you aware of the blood beating a steady, constant path in your body.

And it is a pain that can make you appreciate things more than you thought possible. When in a state of great pain, every single relief is a blessing, a thing to rejoice over. The slightest chill in your arms make you smile as the heat of the pain eases for a moment. The feeling of calm that washes over you as you fall asleep makes you sigh with gratitude. The distraction a book offers makes you feel languid and serene as you concentrate on something outside of your pain. These things are what make bearable the knowledge that you live with a shadow of immense pain ready to pour over you at any given moment.