AdministratorSeptember 10, 2020 at 6:49 pm
I’m posting this anonymously because, well, writing this story is literally spilling my guts. That’s also why I’m posting it in the first place. I want to submit it to a publication, but first, I want opinions…
This is a true story that just happened to me. It was such a clear message from Hashem – that He is always with us. He sees everything. He knows our feelings and our pain and wants us to grow from our challenges. This message, I believe, can give so many chizuk. That’s why I’d like to get it published.
What do you think? I want to submit only if it has a good chance of getting accepted. I don’t want to send around a piece of myself for no reason.
Please critique. (disclaimer: Please critique. It is a bit raw… Happy for you to be heavy-handed with things you think need rewriting.) Also, which publication should I send to?
Thanks a lot!! 🙂
I was the type of girl who danced down the hallways in high school. My friends teased me, but I couldn’t care less. Let them laugh. Having a positive attitude and watching those around me being cheerful too was always a deep inner need of mine.
Soon after seminary, I got engaged. It caught me totally by surprise. Most of my relatives waited and waited for their intendeds, and here I was, engaged at nineteen. As I stood under the chuppah, this wonder alive and flowering, I knew every one of my blessings were a gift. I knew Hashem didn’t owe me a thing. I only davened that this bounty continue pouring forth. That I’d be blessed with a joyful home, with laughter, with sunshine and singing — lots of it — singing in the rain, grasping chubby fingers, little feet dancing with the raindrops.
Married life was lovely at first. Why not? I had a wonderful husband, a nice apartment. I learned to cook, clean, organize — to be independent.
A few weeks after my wedding, my best friend, who got married a few months prior, hinted she was pregnant. How excited I was for her. I listened to her tales of nausea and fatigue wondering how I’d fare when my time would come. Little did I know that after her second child, I’d still be wondering the same thing.
The first months of marriage passed. Everything continued to be lovely. I’m not the type who obsesses over babies, and didn’t mind waiting, enjoying this sliver of time — just the two of us, bonding and creating memories. Soon, very soon, it would be a thing of the past. I might as well make the most of every moment.
Soon, shana rishona was a thing of memories. The months continued along — a cycle of hesitant expectation, blossoming hopes, and having them dashed time and again. Each month, the once flowering hope shriveled just a bit until parched and dying, it filled the tiniest corner of my heart. It was too hard… just too hard — to continue hoping.
But the world waits for no one. While my life remained stagnant, the world continued in its merry way. One by one, my friends married. One by one, the mazel tovs came rolling in.
“It’s a boy!”
“Mazel tov, I had a girl!!”
I’d be the first to reply, “Mazel Tov!!! so exciting!!” with brachos that their children grow up giving only joy and nachas. I was happy for them. I really was. In my heart, deep inside, I understood that Hashem lacked no children. What they received, in no way took away from what belonged to me.
So hiding the growing hole in my heart, I smiled, I called, I bought gifts. I discussed just whose nose the baby inherited, enthused over chattering toddlers, and tried to squash the silence that confronted me each time I entered my apartment — just me and my quiet, quiet walls — walls that never giggled, walls that never whined, walls that never grasped my finger, stared with trusting eyes, and tried to pronounce the simple but heart clenching word, “Mommy”. I tried to dwell on the fact that I, at least, didn’t have to deal with running to the babysitter, shlepping cranky kids, feeding them, bathing them — well… I tried…
Months turned to years, my friends’ babies grew and so did their families. With each new mazel tov, I reached deep into my melting heart, summoning true joy. Every child is a miracle. Who knew that more than me?
But one night, I just couldn’t. It was a week of friends’ simchos, of catching up about everyone’s kids, hearing them kvetch about shlepping their babies around. To round it all out, my husband and I traveled to consult with another doctor. Arriving home, we were drained physically and left with an emotional barometer leveling zero. I lay on my bed, watching the shadows forming between the ceiling and wall.
“Hashem,” I whispered. “I’ve had enough. I don’t want this anymore. I won’t. I can’t… be happy for others. I just can’t!!”
I stared at the ceiling, imagining Hashem’s presence lurking in the shadows. My throat burned, but I continued. “You know what happens in my heart,” I said. “You see it yearning, you see it burning — when my lips are smiling, when I’m laughing. You see it shredding into a million strands. Oh… it hurts too much…”
My bedroom door was open. Down the hallway, stretched my future — a swirl of gray cloud, a looming question mark. Therein, I refused to be happy for anyone else. The only joy I resolved to rejoice in was my own. I couldn’t… I just couldn’t… especially when something deep inside my soul whispered. “Does Hashem really care? Does he hear me? Does it make a difference to him — when I push aside my own yearning, when I work so hard to be happy for others?”
Surrounded in dark thoughts, I decided to call Rabbi Ashear’s Daily Emunah line. Maybe I’d chance upon some chizuk, discover a hint of Hashem’s presence.
I dialed the number. Rabbi Ashear’s voice broke through the line. He said, “Aharon Hakohen merited to wear the choshen mishpat opposite his heart, because his heart was happy for his younger brother, Moshe, when he was appointed the leader. Hashem rewards even our good feelings.”
MemberSeptember 10, 2020 at 10:36 pm
Wow, this is beautiful. I have chills all over, reading it. It is so open and vulnerable, revealing the deepest recesses of your pain. A sentence that stood out to me: Months turned to years, my friends’ babies grew and so did their families. And this one: I stared at the ceiling, imagining Hashem’s presence lurking in the shadows.
The message is so powerful. I hope you share your story with Rabbi Ashear; he gets such chizuk from hearing feedback like this (I think you can find his email address in the Living Emunah books).
As far as critique, I have a few suggestions.
Perhaps this sentence can be divided into two? : I discussed just whose nose the baby inherited, enthused over chattering toddlers, and tried to squash the silence that confronted me each time I entered my apartment — just me and my quiet, quiet walls — walls that never giggled, walls that never whined, walls that never grasped my finger, stared with trusting eyes, and tried to pronounce the simple but heart clenching word, “Mommy”. (Also, I don’t think heart-clenching is a word… maybe you mean “heartrending”, though I’m not sure that is the correct word for this context – it has more of a tone of grief and depression.)
Also, I’m wondering if you can make the part where you hear Rabbi Ashear’s words a bit more personal. Instead of just “he said”, maybe you can say something like “When I heard the words he said, ___________(fill in the blank – I got shivers all over my body/I felt Hashem’s loving pat on my back/my heart stopped/I gripped the phone tighter/I felt a heavy stone roll off my shoulder…). That would just give a drop more emphasis to the beautiful way Hashem answered your plaintive cry.
I hope you are able to publish this piece and share this special chizuk with those who need it.
May you be zoche to have a yeshua bekarov in the zechus of spreading this inspiration! (I will have you in my tefillos be”H)
MemberSeptember 10, 2020 at 10:53 pm
Yes Riva, it really is a very special piece!
Thanks for sharing anonymous, and may Hashem’s reward come swiftly and bigly!
MemberSeptember 10, 2020 at 11:01 pm
Similar to what Anagrammer said, I think you should describe your reaction to Rabbi Ashears lesson. Another thing that bothered me a bit was that the end is quite abrupt. Because, a few sentences ago you were in a very emotional part of your story and then suddenly after Rabbi Ashears lesson, it’s finished. Maybe you can round it off by describing your reaction and how your attitude changed from then on?
Except for these things, it’s a beautiful and personal story, and I am sure that a lot of people who are in a situation like or similar to yours, will get a good dose of Chizuk from it!
Can’t wait to read your story in paper!
Hatzlacha Raba and may Hashem bless you with loads of healthy, happy children Bekarov!
MemberSeptember 11, 2020 at 2:11 am
Wow, this is so painful and so real. I also think some more description could be added. Hashem should give your much Bracha and bless you with many happy and healthy children!
MemberSeptember 11, 2020 at 3:23 am
Wow! Just wow! What a story! When we are looking for Hashem’s messages he sends them to us so clearly…Please try to get this published!
I agree that it needs a more conclusive ending. It’s probably too much to say that from then on you were bursting with happiness for other people. But perhaps you can write something along the lines of how sweet it was to receive this hug from Hashem during that trying time etc.
On another note, I also waited several years before I had my first, although I had lost a preemie baby during the years of waiting so my story is a bit different. I wrote about my journey waiting for children and it was published in Family First a few years ago under pen name. If the writer of this wants to see it for inspiration for her own story and also for chizuk please message me 🙂
MemberSeptember 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm
Wow, this is so so beautiful, and so… real.
You should definitely submit this.
Especially this part: (gave me chills!) walls that never giggled, walls that never whined, walls that never grasped my finger, stared with trusting eyes, and tried to pronounce the simple but heart clenching word, “Mommy”.
Maybe you could change this sentence: I’d still be wondering the same thing. about the same thing? Or just, I’d still be wondering? Just my meshigas.
And echoing the opinions above, I’d add something to the end because it’s a bit dry. I personally like abrupt endings so I wouldn’t add more than a few words…
Can’t wait to see this in print!
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