Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Trials of Faith...and Doubt

You might have realized from some of my previous posts that I think of myself as a happy person. I loooove being happy, smiling, laughing, and singing loud enough to frighten the birds outside my window. And it's very easy to make me happy -just give me some time with my family (or better yet, a lot of time with them), show me some hashgacha pratis, feed me, crack a joke, give me a good book, a smile, a compliment, beautiful scenery, a sunset, a sunrise, a slurpee...And I'll twirl in a circle with my hands in the air and shout out to the world how much I love my life, how much I love Hashem, who has given it all to me.

There are too many cynics in this world, too much depression, too much anger and awful emptiness. I am no cynic. My hope has never died.

Not even after suffering more than any twelve-year-old should have to, on that terrible, horrible night which still remains sharp and painful in my memory. At some point in that endless, pitch-black night, I made a fervent, tear-filled plea to Hashem. I never wanted something more in my life than for Hashem to answer my request favorably, and I don't know if I ever will.

But He didn't. He said no. And I still mourn.

In seminary, I learned from great teachers two different views on this. Either Hashem never says no, He only says yes in a way we may not understand, or sometimes, although Hashem hears our pleas, He sometimes answers no. I connected strongly to the former opinion, and I still believe it strongly. Hashem never tells us no, but gives us what we are truly asking for, which may be something we don't realize, or yet know, or can ever understand. But despite all this, and despite the fact that I believe Hashem truly said yes to my plea so many years ago, that "yes" felt like such a "no" that I still cannot understand at all how it is a "yes". Maybe I will learn the answer sometime in the future. But for now, that moment in time remains a sore point for me, spiritually, although it doesn't at all interfere with my faith and love of Hashem. It is a faded, almost imperceptible but still tender bruise on my soul.

I am grateful for my faith. It has sheltered me through great adversity, been my constant companion, and it has enabled all my happiness. And sometimes, Hashem tests that faith -as He tests us all, to give us more reward, to strengthen us, to bring us closer and raise us higher.

Recently, my faith was tested. I wish I could say I passed, but I'm not quite sure I did. Only Hashem knows for sure... It began with hope -as much of life does. A hope that lay deep and bright in my heart -the hope for another. A hope that seemed as if it would be soon fulfilled, as if Hashem was answering my recent whispered requests with a loud, clear, and resounding "YES". But then, that hope was struck with a mighty blow, a sudden "no" that took me by surprise. Was my request, so achingly wished for and entirely for another, denied?

Did Hashem so no, again? Why? How could He? Why?

Those questions arose in my head so quickly, I was nearly overwhelmed, my hope nearly extinguished by an ocean of doubt, my spirit -always so strong and true- nearly broken. Nearly. Nearly, but not quite. For the next second, that ocean of doubt was replaced by an peaceful ocean of understanding and acceptance. Hashem answered my question with a yes. But who am I to know what my question really was? What the answer really is? Whether it was the right time? The right place? The right way? I don't; G-d does.

My hope may have been injured -but it never died! My hope, however incongruous, however ridiculous, however idealistic, however impossible, has never died.

And I am happy again. Gam zu l'tovah.


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I am so happy to hear that you are happy:) Nice to read!

Lvnsm27 said...

That is strength.

Lvnsm27 said...

btw, I tagged you here

BigRed said...

That is so deep. Hashem has said yes even though it feels like a no. For all you know the Yes you hoped would changed things would only have made things worse then the time before. Keep smiling, keep up the faith and in time may we all hear the Yes to the prayers we utter.

Scraps said...

I wish I could be so strong, and so happy. Though intellectually I know that everything that happens is for the best, I still have a hard time actually believing it in my heart. My feelings and my intellect don't always (or even usually) match up.

The hardest is when there is hope...and then those hopes are horribly, brutally dashed. It makes the disappointment just that much more acute, the facts just that much harder to accept. But at the same time, I can't help hoping; if I don't hope, there's nothing to live for.

Sara said...

I agree with Scraps. You're so strong and you should be really proud of who you are. You already seem proud, actually, and it's great.

I keep praying that we should always see Hashem answering yes.

Okee said...

sw/fm--I am happy! Isn't it great??

lvnsm--Strength is something I always need -without it life is just to fragile, and all of us would break (or break down)...and btw, I can't wait to write my meme! Hope I get a chance today!

bigred--Amein. (I first wrote it Amen, but that looked like Ay-men, instead of Ah-mayn, so then I wrote Amein, but that just looks weird. Anyway...) I know, in my heart, you're absolutely right. But moments of doubt can still occur with complete faith. Well, I shouldn't call it doubt, exactly, but rather pain. Like getting a shot at the doctor's office- no matter how much I've intellectualized it's benefits and how much I need it, when that needle touches me I will cry and scream!

scraps--you say you wish you could be so strong and happy...even though I don't know you, I think you are. Because you still, I see, have hope. As long as you hold onto hope, there is strength within you. Having hope does open you up to more pain, but life without hope is a life of constant pain...and I wouldn't want anyone to suffer that. Like you said, "if I don't hope, there's nothing to live for."

sara--Thank you so much...maybe I should believe you and just believe in my own strength- that would make me even happier. As to my being proud, I am- proud to be a Jew, a happy, idealistic Jew, and I realy hope (there's that word again!) that I always stay that way. And as to your prayer...ken yehi ratzon!