I think of myself as someone with emunah. My lifestyle is centred around my faith, and if I didn’t have a strong belief in G-d, I wouldn’t follow all the laws and customs which govern my daily life. Faith dictates how I choose to dress, eat, work, speak and act, and without it, I would feel lost. Recently, however, I suffered a faith crisis; a temporary phase in which I had no emunah, in which I felt no connection to G-d, which unsurprisingly turned my life upside down.
As I sat in shul, gazing at the arched ceiling, I found it hard to praise G-d. Why should I thank You, I asked, when you have made me so unhappy? Why should I praise You, when you have taken the things I loved? I didn’t exactly feel angry at G-d. I just felt a total lack of love for Him: something close to apathy, which is even worse.
I went home after shul and spent the rest of Shabbes in a dark room. I didn’t want to wake up and face my life. But over the coming days, I realised that I had two options for dealing with this crisis. I could wallow in my grief, mourn what I had lost, and stop praying to G-d. Or I could tackle it head on; work out what was making me feel this way and do something about it.
I chose the latter approach and I questioned G-d more than I ever had before. Then I began to look for answers to my questions. Sometimes, there were none. Sometimes, I wasn’t satisfied. It was never easy, but I persevered until I read that hard times existed for the purpose of prayer; not the other way round.
This intrigued me and I took to praying. At first, I was looking for a cure, but after a while, I questioned this, too- could prayer really solve my problems? It felt like it sometimes, but other times, it felt hopeless. It didn’t really seem realistic. But I kept praying and I kept talking to G-d. I read Tehillim while I cooked, I read from my siddur while I wept, but mostly, I said what was in my heart, and I felt that G-d was listening.
I wasn’t alone. Talking to G-d made me realise that. Questioning made me realise that. And even though things didn’t immediately fall into place, I realised that my faith crisis was over, because I could turn to G-d. Even when I didn’t feel like thanking Him or praising Him, He was there, and He loved me.
Life wasn’t perfect, but I realised it didn’t matter.
Because I could talk to G-d.