She was quite pleased by the idea, as her first marriage had dissolved after 12 years, and she felt she'd already served her time. But I was much less thrilled at the prospect, primarily because I knew when G-d had thrown me in prison, spiritually, and according to her reckoning, I still had at least another year to go.
Being in prison, spiritually, is horrible. You feel trapped, stuck in difficult circumstances that you can't seem to change or improve, no matter what you do. All your efforts come to naught; everything you try seems to end in failure; you feel scared, alone, isolated and forgotten about. IE, just how Yosef HaTzaddik must have felt, when he was stuck down in that Egyptian hole in the ground, wondering when, or if, the nightmare was ever going to end.
Man, I can relate.
I didn't know exactly when it was going to be, but I knew my 12 years was going to be up sometime between Succot and Chanuka this year.
This is what's happened in the last few weeks:
- The week after Succot, we unexpectedly moved again to a much nicer, much cheaper apartment round the corner from where we used to live, where my kids actually made some friends;
- We closed our business in the Old City, that had been sucking all the life, cash and time out of us for months;
- After years of not knowing what to do with himself, my husband started studying to be a proper rabbi and is feeling happier than he has done for years;
- I had some huge internal breakthroughs, which helped me to let go of a whole bunch of stuff that has been weighing me down, and keeping me in prison for years;
- My kids cheered up; I cheered up; my husband cheered up;
- I got a second wind to start writing my book on Jewish Energy Medicine again (watch this space for more details…
To sum it up, I got out of prison. Not physically so much, as I'm still struggling financially etc, but spiritually? I feel like a new person! I got a lot of my optimism, faith and energy back. I feel like this is a new start, and that many of the confusions, doubts, concerns and issues that have been weighing me down like 50 ton chains for years are finally starting to disappear.
If you're in the middle of your prison sentence, take heart: it doesn't last forever. The only thing that got me through my sentence in one piece was talking to G-d every single day for an hour. As long as I was doing that, I could still just about cope with my circumstances, and I could still just about hold on to emuna, and my belief that things would improve one day.
I don't know if all of us has to go through 12 years of hard labour, but I know for sure that all of us have to face our own pain, heartache and futility, at least once in our lives.
If you're in the middle of the darkness, if you're feeling stuck, lonely or despairing, take heart: one day, the clouds will part, the gates will open, and you will get told the magic words: 'Come out of your hole in the ground now, you're free. There's a whole world out there just waiting for you.'
May it come soon!