I wrote this years ago, after a tumultous time in my younger life. It’s the most personal and soul-bearing thing I’ve ever written, so it’s been hiding in my diary since then.

Today a friend inspired me to share it, because many of us have had the same experience, in one way or another, and it’s good to know that we’re all on the same boat.

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When I was a child, Torah said to me, “follow me, and I will make your life beautiful.”

So I followed him. I followed Torah as much as I could, and my life was beautiful.

Torah brought togetherness, he brought warmth and safety. He gave me sweets and joys and reasons to laugh.

My Bat Mitzvah came, and Torah asked me, “Will you still follow me?” and I said of course, because he had made my life beautiful.

Life was good with Torah. I had community, and support. I had familiarity, simplicity, and meaning. I felt right and good and secure with my future.

One day I saw a teacher behave unkindly. I thought, hmm, that’s not Torah. It was an exception to the rule; everything else was still perfectly beautiful.

I grew into my teens, I kept following Torah, and things mostly stayed beautiful, but more and more exceptions showed their ugly face. Then one day, I met something terrifying. I didn’t know it could be true. Something too horrible and painful to ignore, and it was hiding in Torah’s clothes.

I panicked. I screamed. I asked Torah how he could allow something so sickening in his beautiful world. But there was no answer; I was left confused.

My thoughts were lost, my heart felt numb. I had promised Torah that I’d go in his ways. It was what I knew, and thought I loved. Its beauty was now blurred, but I trudged on.

I neared adulthood, chasing the perfect beauty I once had. I wandered along in Torah’s ways, but the awful sights continued to storm his landscape. They tormented his community, burned his wisdom, and strained the old comforts while I searched for explanation.

One night, I looked at Torah, and all I could see were the frightful scars and foul cries claiming its name. I couldn’t drag my feet anymore.

A loud piercing pain shrieked out from the bottom of my soul. I yelled at Torah for all it allowed to be.

“You promised me beauty! You said your ways will make life good. How can you let these evils dance in your name?!”

I cried, and sobbed at all that could have been.

I cried for the community.

For the warmth and security.

The love.

For the joys and laughs that were drowned away in tears.

“If you think this is beauty, then I don’t want to follow you! I’ll throw you away!”

Torah looked back at me, sat down, and began to cry.

“I can’t stop them,” he whispered. “I can’t force them to be beautiful.”

He put his arms around my shoulders, and I looked at him closely. He was pleading.

“You can stop them. You can show them how to be beautiful. You can clear my story. You can light my path.”

“And you?” I asked.

“I will be at your side.”

 

 

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