a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Where is Gd? Part One

Posted on: July 19, 2014

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for the past few months and especially in the past few weeks.

When trying to have a baby turned into one of the hardest, most expensive, and most disappointing thing I’ve experienced with my body I asked.

When I lost my job and went on interviews with several Jewish non-profits, and interviewed with several friends and acquaintances and never got so much as an email response afterwards I asked.

When my only sibling died I asked.

I still don’t have an answer, but it felt like a long time that Gd stopped listening to me.

Some people say that when you allow yourself to truly become quiet you can hear the sound of Gd’s voice. I’ve heard that people find Gd in the faces of friends, children and family members. Some people find Gd when they’re alone, surrounded by nature. And still others find Gd after they come out on the other side of something tragic. I hoped the later would be where I found Gd, but without an answer to infertility and the knowledge that no amount of prayer will bring my sister back, I’m still struggling to figure out where Gd is and how Gd fits into my life.

When I was searching for Gd before, it was strangely also because of my sister. She was struggling and I needed to grasp for something, someone, anything to help me figure out what my place was,what ┬ámy role was in her struggle. It was in that searching that I found Judaism and a way to connect with Gd in ways that I couldn’t before. The idea of Gd wasn’t wrapped up in a man, a person who stood as the gatekeeper to my relationship with Gd, but rather it opened my eyes to the idea that Gd is truly wherever I look; That I can have a conversation with Gd, argue with Gd and be mad at Gd at any time. I felt the most profoundly close to Gd in the mikveh and through the years have found ways to connect in shul, in prayer, and in the woods.

But ever since I said tehillim by my sister’s side with my parents, their pastor and my partner it’s felt like Gd has slipped away from me. Was Gd in her? Was she the glue that held my connection with the spiritual together?

A few days after Patrice died and M had gone back to New York I laid in my bed and fell into a fretful sleep. As I dreamt Patrice came to me in a dream, all of a sudden, out of no where. I was so shocked seeing her in my dream space that I said to her, “You’re dead!” It wasn’t an accusation or anything really. It was simply how my subconscious and conscious mind were working together. She quickly disappeared as quickly as she appeared and in my dream state I realized that she’d come to see me. I tried with all my might to stay asleep and dreaming, but like I always do when I realize that I’m dreaming I woke up. And cried. And went to my parent’s room to cry in their arms. Ever since that night, after saying kaddish and the sh’ma I ask my sister to come back to visit me.

And for the four months since then she has been ignoring me. Which we were really good at doing.

So when she came to me again, at the end of a really weird dream I allowed it to happen.

I was having a bizarre dream that included my high school boyfriend, my cousin and my high school car. I went into a room where Patrice was laying on her side and laid in front of her. She opened her eyes and said goodbye to me (in the dream I was going some where but I know she was really saying her final goodbye). She called my her seester, something she did often and leaned towards me with her face down and the top of her head close to my lips. I kissed her head and immediately woke up to the overwhelming scent of her. For a second my room smelled like cigarettes mixed with henna and her essence. I was overcome with happiness and sadness.

I knew then that she’d come back to me. And I knew that it would be the last time that she would come to visit me, that she was really gone. For a few weeks afterwards I woke up every day at the same time-around 4:45 AM, the time that the hospital’s chaplain called my parents to inform them that they urgently needed to come. That my sister was critical.

After a few weeks of restless sleep I asked Patrice to let me sleep. I told her that I loved her and I let her know that I was fine.

Of course I still cry uncontrollable tears, but I also started to feel like I could find Gd again, through my sadness.


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