Sunday, December 29, 2013

Guest Post - Serving Hashem with a Broken Heart - Poetry and Pain

I am happy to share the following guest post which was written a couple of weeks ago by a reader who would like to remain anonymous. This is a beautiful, sad, and heartfelt essay that grapples with applying teachings of Breslov and Piaczezna chassidus to real-life challenges and pain. You can read about some of the background concepts that underlie this piece in some of my past posts, like this one discussing the soul's basic need for sensation, any sensation. And also this post and this follow-up one discussing the fundamental reality that one must first destroy the old in order to build something new and greater in its place.

One mans search for meaning in a broken heart
“The worst feeling in the world is no feeling at all. A prisoner to passivity, the lacking of connectivity.
Longing to escape this monotonous place, with hopes of arriving at an elated state.
The only thing I feel is the shower drip, the burning hot is quite a trip
With a weak attempt to clear off the dirt, I really just want to know I can still hurt
As the burning hot water leaves its mark
 I only wish my  soul would feel it and spark
In most it flickers while mine just dwindles, hoping for something to help it rekindle
Created to fight and destined to slumber I wish I could cry as my innards continue to dissemble”
A short while ago, the girl I was dating broke up with me. The pain was pretty overwhelming. I couldn’t eat, read, concentrate, converse with people, the very state of being conscious was just too painful. How could one put in to words the pain of losing such a large part of who they were and what they invested in? The echoes from a recently hollowed space in my heart reverberated throughout my soul. It made me greatly question the value of dating and marriage. Why should I risk the potential mind numbing pain that accompanies such heartache? 
The soul is often compared to a candle. A candles flame dances and sways as it flickers in the darkness. So to the soul, its natural state being one of turmoil. The soul has a need to love, feel, and experience. When we are exposed to pain, we instinctually hide that pain behind a veil of cynicism and denial. With this veil draped over our senses, we not only numb ourselves to the pain, but we also hinder our potential to feel joy.
We must understand that every yeridah and aliyah is just another beautiful note on the musical scale of life. Its imperative to remember that every time we trip or stumble, its really just a beautiful melody or dance move in disguise. Our job isn’t to deny and hide the fact that we're struggling but its rather to show the world the potential beauty that lies within that struggle. The beautiful reality that every yeridah brings about the possibility of an even greater aliyah.
The story of the redemption of the Jewish people is always preceded by darkness. The night proceeds the day in the Jewish religion, but we know that the first thought of G-D was the last act in creation. Which means G-d only created the darkness in order to make the light that much greater and magnificent. 
Emunah isn’t ignoring our feelings of despair. Emunah means I have the realization that this pain is very real and deep, but at the same time understanding its an essential experience in the process of creating the new and much improved self. We must acknowledge the heartache, embrace the pain, and mold our experiences in to something meaningful. Life is a constant search for that spark of goodness that’s hidden within the paralyzing darkness.
So yes, I could choose complacency, a life that’s numb to the calling and searching of my soul for its greater half. But wouldn’t I be missing out on the beauty of this world? Because life is not just an assortment of joyous occasions that are arbitrarily strung together. The beauty of growth lies within the ebb and flow of life’s waves, navigated by the souls longing to feel. The lows experienced during this voyage of creating oneself are just as essential as the highs.

So that’s why its worth it. Its worth putting it all on the line again because in the end of the day its really the only option we have. A life without feeling is barely a life at all. And a loving heart that’s never been broken doesn’t really know what it means to love.

We must have faith in G-d, our self, and others. We must not be afraid to share our feelings and struggles with those who are close to us. A Jew must never forget that when all else fails, the gates of tears are never closed.  Although the world tells us it’s a sign of weakness to cry, in reality it’s precisely the opposite. And those who never cry, will never truly experience what it means to laugh. So cry, cry because your entitled to. Cry because it will help you. Cry now because soon you will be laughing. A laughter that will be so great it will fill your mouth. A laughter that will only be as strong and meaningful as your tears had previously been. So lets stand up, light the candle, and spread the light of the broken hearted.

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Neil Harris said...

Sorry for not reading this sooner. The author should know that what was posted is probably a bracha to most of us, who have gone through difficult times.

AZuS Dkdusha said...

What an incredibly powerful, life-altering post. As someone who has been through similar struggles, I really connected to the pain and hope of the writer. This is a must read for anyone who has ever been through heartbreak.

devorah said...
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Anonymous said...

Any girl who rejects you does not deserve you. You cannot imagine how much light you bring into people's lives with your words and your smile. When you walk into a room, it's like sun coming out of the clouds, even men say so. Please don't give up and don't settle! I bless you to find the very special girl who truly deserves to be with you, bimheira b'yameinu.

devorah said...
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