I'm so full of feelings; they are flooding my mind. And so I would like to speak to you. I have an image in my mind and it's me but it's not me. It's an image of a girl and she's kneeling and there's a sweetness to her face and she is wearing a black Russian veil, the netting framing her face very beautifully. And she is very pale and her lips are very red and there is an expression on her face of complete serenity. Even her lips have a certain sort of plumpness and ripeness and a bow-shape that makes them curve into a heart of grace. I don't know this girl but she exists somewhere within me and this sweet, trusting girl who I have somehow placed in the shadow of a cathedral or some other house of worship is kneeling because she is praying, and she is praying because she is thanking You.
I am overcome with wonder when I consider the number of people, wholly unbeknownst to me, who have been praying for me and wishing for my joy. Undoubtedly, all of their prayers and efforts had something to do with my present happiness, and thus I am grateful to them and to You for hearing them. I confess that I have doubted you this past year, not in terms of Your existence, but rather in terms of Your plan for me. It seemed cruel and unkind and otherwise unfair. But You listened when I spoke and when I told you this had to be the last time and you made it the last time, which must mean that You agree with me that I had had enough and now was a good time to begin again.
On the one hand, I am very happy for me, but on the other hand, I am thinking of all the other people out there in the world who haven't been granted their happiness yet. I am lucky. I am truly, deeply lucky and I know I am lucky and it fills me with gratitude. There are many other girls who would like to be married and yet who are not, girls who must watch as the parade and procession of people who are younger than them churns on. And then they doubt themselves, all those beautiful girls, and they wonder: What is wrong with me? I'm no different than her- why has her happiness been granted and mine has not been? Why must it be that I am unloved or unlovable, that people would prefer her to me, that her experience is easier than mine? Why am I in pain still?
I do not mean to suggest that these pure and precious people are not happy on the account of those whom they love. I am sure that they are. But I know myself, because I have felt it, of how one can feel happy for someone and yet sad, deeply and extraordinarily sad, on account of oneself. All the doubts and worries and sadnesses parade through your mind and you wonder why the lives of others are so simple and perfect and yours is not. Of course, we cannot see into the lives of others, and if we could, it is possible we would learn this is not the case. But the fact remains, and it is a fact I know well, that all of us struggle in different ways. One struggle may be more visible on the surface, but that does not make it more meaningful.
The only thing I can do, God, is turn to you. I can request that you extend to the many people in the world who are hoping and grieving, their hearts filled with sadness and desire, the happiness that You have granted me. I wish that I could take it and cut it into bite-sized cubes, grind it up into stardust and sunshine and sprinkle it out over the heads of everyone, anointing them with my joy. I wish I could somehow find ways to make the lives of those who long fulfilled and joyous and joyful. I wish futilely, somewhat like Elkana, that I could be enough for my wife Chana. But it is not in my power to grant these wishes. They are given only to You.
Everyone needs something different in their lives. Some people truly need their life-partners. Others need academic success, financial success, emotional health, public recognition or fame, parental love or a helping hand. It is my desire that You gift everyone who longs and desires purely and who strives to work on themselves, as I believe we all do, with that which they need. I have been so fortunate as to have received it from you; it would be my greatest desire for You to bestow it upon others.
May the happiness, contentment, serenity and joy that I see inscribed on the face of that girl in my mind's eye, kneeling in the shadow of a church, be offered to those who need it. Pour the light of your countenance down over them and shine down on them, so that they too may be healed and lifted up. Journeying is painful; struggling is hard. For all your creations who cry mercy, please grant it. Please heed them and help them and allow them to be made whole, even as You have shown compassion toward me, and made me whole.
For I cannot be wholly happy so long as they are not, even as You cannot take joy in Your world when you watch your creations act in suicidal self-destructive ways. Alas, there is nothing you can do as to that, for you have granted us free will. But I believe that You can aid those who do trust in you and long for you and who desire to be complete, so please take mercy on them, for I know how they feel and I know it is a very dark feeling. I do not, of course, speak for all. There are many entirely happy, totally gladdened hearts and souls that walk the earth, no matter the societal conventions they may or may not follow. Of them I do not speak. I am speaking for the broken-hearted, the ones who cry out in silence. I remember that day in the bathroom in Arie Crown. I remember that phone call on the bus to NCSY Spring Convention. I remember my desperate attempt to snatch at fading joy and I remember the blinding, searing, totally incomprehensible pain in which you burned and purified me. And just because I have been so lucky as to have been permitted out of the furnace does not give me leave to rejoice totally, for there are many who are still burning and it is for them I ask your mercy- for they are reflections of me, too. As Esmeralda says, "I thought we all were Children of God."
Thank you, God, for hearing me out and for listening.
Love from your daughter,