Most days, I’m starting off my daily chats to God with a frank admission that I’m not doing so well, spiritually, at the moment. The events of the last year proved to me once and for all that I’m really not a tzaddik, and that I’m actually in a much lower place than I thought I was.
For example, a few months ago I thought I was past all the secular information stuff. I don’t use the internet! I only read Jewish books! I am completely free of foreign ideas and knowledge!
But these days, I’m reading a whole bunch of books on holistic healing methods, and I just took the horrible step of starting a Facebook page to help me publicise my new book, when it comes out in a few more weeks, BH.
Did I sell out?
I don’t know. All I can tell you is that after spending two years on the breadline, and having to sell my house just to cover my basic living expenses, I realized I’m not on the level where I can happily live in a dumpster.
I’ve tried everything I can to avoid being on the internet, but God seems to have dragged me back to it.
Let’s take another example: seeing God behind all the ‘difficult’ people in my life. Sometimes I manage it OK, other times, they have me seething and raging again, with their latest horrible, hypocritical behaviour.
Now, I KNOW God is behind it all, and that emuna says that God is all there is, and He’s doing everything for my eternal good.
But when I get another ‘holier-than-thou’ email from very troubled people who have no idea how nasty they actually are, I often still react negatively.
It usually takes me at least a couple of days of doing hitbodedut to sort it all through, and remember that:
a) God is behind it all
b) It’s all for my best
c) Hoping that these people get run over by a bus is NOT the optimal spiritual response that God wants me to have.
Does my reaction to the crazies mean I have no emuna?
I think probably not, or at least, not after I’ve worked it all through and brought it all back to the Almighty.
What it does mean, however, is that I’m not a big tzaddik who can continue to turn the other cheek as people keep slapping it. (Whoah, now that I’ve written that I’m seeing that probably, ‘turning the other cheek’ to lunatics is not even an authentic Jewish idea. Wrong religion, mate…)
I could tell you another million other things that I’m struggling with at the moment, but it all comes down to this:
God prefers our ugly truths to our beautiful lies.
Yes, I could tell God how much I love covering my hair, and going to mikva, and davening shacharit – but He knows that right now, the only reason I’m doing a lot of my mitzvahs is just because God wants me to. I’m not getting a huge amount of nachas, or personal enjoyment, out of quite a few things at the moment.
Does the fact that I’m doing a bunch of mitzvahs lishma, ie, only for God, make me less holy, or even more ‘religious’?
I don’t know.
The only one who really knows is God, and as long as I continue to keep it real, and to keep bringing everything back to Him, I know that somehow or other, God is satisfied with me, however lowly and imperfect I really am.