| LifeTakes |

Hashem Is Here

It was an old pain, from a long-ago traumatic event in my childhood that still wreaks havoc in my relationships

I walked into my bedroom the other night and noticed two pieces of paper lying on the floor. When I picked them up, I saw they were pages three and four of a 35-year-old letter written by my friend Frieda. Frieda’s in Eretz Yisrael, and I haven’t been in touch with her for decades. I wondered how the letter came to be lying on my floor after all these years. I probably should read it, I thought, but I was tired, and I put it on my dresser and went to sleep.

The next morning, old letter forgotten, I went straight to practicing my daily hisbodedus. I closed the light in my room, locked the door, sat down in my designated corner, and started speaking to Hashem. “I’m so grateful for the birth of my healthy new grandchild the previous week,” I told Him. Even though she was born preemie, she was doing well, and I thanked Hashem for the miracle of her birth after almost ten years. Sitting in my secluded corner with no distractions, I really felt the awesomeness of Hashem’s love and kindness in all the blessings He continuously showers upon me.

Then, as I sat there, a pain started tugging at my heart. It was an old pain, from a long-ago traumatic event in my childhood that still wreaks havoc in my relationships. For some reason this ancient pain felt particularly strong on this morning, and I began to cry. Splotchy, red-nosed, gut-wrenching, red-rimmed-eyes crying. The kind of crying you don’t want anybody to see.

After I exhausted my tears, I said aloud, “Hashem, even if the time is still not right for You to take away this pain, please, at least show me You’re with me in my nisayon!”

I finished my hisbodedus feeling drained but with a certain peace as I rose to start my day. It was then I noticed the letter from the previous night and decided to read it. The letter was chatty; Frieda sharing the details of her life since I had visited her a few months prior.

And then she wrote: “I still can’t believe the bashertness of you meeting the rav at the airport, Miriam! Take it from me, if he said, ‘It’s not your fault, it never was,’ listen to him and everything will be A-OK! Just beg Hashem to throw your guilt out the back door, and it will be good. It sounds so easy, but it ain’t always so pashut — that’s where Hashem and needing Him comes into the picture.”

I stared at the letter in my hands. What was Frieda talking about? Was this a message sent down to me through the years that I was supposed to hear today — minutes after I asked Hashem to show me that He was with me in my challenge? Because when I reread Frieda’s words, I realized she could only have been talking about this very same old issue.

The funny thing is that I have zero recollection of receiving her letter or meeting “the rav” at the airport. (I’m not even sure which rav she was talking about.) And apparently, if I’m still suffering so many years later, that meeting with the rav didn’t have the desired effect. But perhaps it wasn’t meant to have any effect then. Perhaps it was only meant to have an effect now, when his words inexplicably appeared on my bedroom floor. Because finding that letter this morning jolted me out of a 35-year-old quasi-emunah state in which I always knew Hashem was with me, knew He was listening to my prayers. I “knew” a lot. But suddenly I understood that my former “knowing” was nothing compared to my present experiential “knowing.” The depth of feeling that Hashem truly is with me was suddenly real now, like a previously closed space in my heart had opened and was flooded with light and warmth.

After receiving this direct communication from Hashem, I looked up Frieda’s email address and wrote to her. She sent me back the following note: “Miriam,” it said, “this is the epitome of Hashgachah pratis. I was in the chatzeir of Rabbi Shimon in Meron when I received your message — also doing hisbodedus! Reading it, I felt like ‘Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is everywhere.’ He is sending you and me a message through a 35-year-old letter. The message (for me) is ein yeush ba’olam klal, and I’m really with you 24-7.”

And the message I heard is, “Mammale, the time’s not right to give you what you want. But know that I’m with you, and I love you, and I’m holding your hand. I’ve been there all along, even when you didn’t know it.”


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 827)

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