Last week, I wasn’t having a very good week (I know that’s not a newsflash, if you read this blog on a regular basis).

I was walking around last week feeling physically, mentally and emotionally stressed-out of my skull – and that’s even before I got out of bed in the morning! So any of the regular, routine stresses that we all have to deal were just throwing me for a loop, and making me feel like life is un-doable, un-copable, un-liveable…

I made a rule a long time ago that I would share the ‘downs’ as well as the ‘ups’ with you, dear reader, because otherwise, I’d stop being a real person, and there’s sadly already more than enough ‘shiny fakers’ out there.

So, you heard all about the ‘downs’ of last week, so now let me tell you how God kick-started the ‘ups’.

I woke up on Wednesday super-stressed again, and feeling very stiff and achy everywhere.

I came over to my computer, switched it on, and saw the email from my very nice designer with 7 covers of ‘Fatima the (muslim) Jewish housewife’, and my mood sank even further. A quick email turned up the problem: there were really NO usable images of a Jewish housewife anywhere on the net, so my designer had hit a brick wall.

For the next half an hour, I started to feel really, really sorry for myself again, and how hard it all was to get anything done, and how impossible it is to be a ‘frum’ woman in our modern world and to really get anywhere blah blah blah.

Then, I got really angry about the whole situation, and my ‘stuck’ frustration boiled up so high I decided to go down to the Kotel with my camera and take my own pictures of Jewish women!!!!!

(Clearly only from the back, with no skin or identifying features displayed…)

I am so not a proper photography.

I’m far too shy to stick my camera in people’s faces, or to make a spectacle of myself lying on the floor or climbing poles just to get ‘the perfect picture’. But really, I’d hit that place of utter desperation.

I sat at the back of the Kotel, with my camera on ‘super zoom plus’ mode, and just took pictures of everyone and everything I could, in the hopes that something would turn up as a replacement for ‘Fatima the Jewish housewife’.

“God, please send me one of those gorgeously coiffed bandana babes from Geula, and let them stand right in front of me, and don’t let any savta-types be standing behind them having a conversation…” I muttered under my breath.

That didn’t exactly happen. I snapped whoever I could snap, but my heart started to sink:

‘Forget it, Rivka,” my yetzer whispered at me. “You can’t fix this problem. You paid all that money to the designer for nothing…your cover is going to suck.”

I packed up, trudged back home, and about 5 minutes away from my flat I realised that I lost my purse. And my phone. And credit card. And my I.D.

Great!

“This is what you get for trying to take sneaky pictures of frum people at the Kotel!” I berated myself. I got home, prepared to call the bank to cancel my credit card – and noticed my purse on the table. Gosh! I must have just left it at home.

Nope.

What happened is that some wonderful person at the Kotel found my purse, and arranged to deliver it back to my house before I even realised, really, that it was gone.

God arranged the balm before the blow.

Next, I started sorting through all my pictures to see if there was something remotely usable that could be photo-shopped to fit the cover, and again, the cloud descended. So many out of focus pictures! So few really decent shots of anyone! Sigh.

Which is when I noticed ‘Ms Perfect’ in the denim jacket. I only had one picture of her, but it was a corker – and I’d actually been trying to get a shot of the ‘Geula babe’ next to her, who had such a stunning mitpachat on I didn’t even notice this other woman who was standing there and quietly davening to herself.

Once again, Hashem had hidden the ‘solution’ to the problem away in plain sight.

There was definitely a theme going on here, and I started to perk up.

The nicest surprise happened that night, when I was going to bed. One of the people I live with (who will remain nameless as I don’t want to embarrass them) had tucked a handwritten note, together with quite a large stash of shekels, under my pillow, telling me to go shopping tomorrow, and buy that fancy cardigan I’ve been eyeing up for months, and feeling SO bad that I can’t buy stuff like that anymore.

I did.

It’s stunning.

All in all, God showed me that times ARE tough at the moment, and stressful, and often overwhelmingly yucky. But Hashem’s kindness is still woven into the fabric of all the difficulties we’re all going through, just waiting for the right moment to be revealed.

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