| Musings |

Light Dawns

The walls are too steep to climb, the stones too slippery to scale. The only thing that can possibly lift you is Him


his must be as bad as it gets, you tell yourself. I must be in the abyss, about to head upward.

But you doubt it’s true. Because last time you said that, you believed it. You trusted that this was rock bottom, that there was no place more painful to be.

And then the floor gave out again, and you tumbled even further down.

You look around at the dark walls, trying to find an opening for light to reach you, but there is none.

So this is really it, you tell yourself. The rocks are sharper, they’re not just uncomfortable, they’re painful.

And there doesn’t seem to be any way out. The walls are too steep to climb, the stones too slippery to scale. The only thing that can possibly lift you is Him, so you take your brown leather Tehillim from the shelf, the one you bought yourself, and turn to the first perek.

The black words, once marching in a straight line across the white page, swerve and jump as your eyes fill with tears. Am I davening or am I crying? you ask yourself, then you wonder if there’s a difference — and if it matters.

Because for now, all you know for certain is that the tears are so large and so wet, they’re burning straight through the pages. There’s a soggy, seeping hole where the words of prayer once stood.

It can’t possibly get worse, you tell yourself. But you can’t imagine it getting better either.

You change “when” it happens to “if” it does. Because if you let that belief lift you, even a tiny bit, you will fall so much harder when things explode.

You used to see the light. Once upon a time, there was a calendar filled with potential milestones. This is when… and this is when… and by that date… You had a timeline.

But those milestones got erased so many times, you can’t even write on the paper anymore. It’s long eroded beneath the wipe, wipe, wipe of your eraser. The paper is too fragile to support another dangerous drop of hope.

And if there’s ever a slight chance things may turn around, you ask:

How will this go wrong?

Why will it end this time?

How long will it take to pick myself back up?

So you stopped imagining the future and don’t picture any day other than this one, the day that has you sitting in the dark, crying into the pages of your Tehillim.

And the next day, after you’ve turned through nearly every page, you open your eyes and say Modeh Ani. That voice is there, the one that stubbornly pipes up before you have a moment to shush it — maybe this time, maybe this one.

You hide the dark circles with makeup, and that’s when you get the call.

It’s happening — the thing you always dreamed of. But it’s not actually happening, you remind yourself. Because it always ends, so how will it end this time?

It doesn’t end. And then next time you sit with your Tehillim, you see each word. You are dazzled by the light you never could see before. And you realize that all you needed all along, more than knowing what the end was or when it would come, was to believe that the light was there. Somewhere. Somehow.




(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 805)

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