OK God, I get it. I get that you’re in charge. You’re just in charge of it all, aren’t you? In charge, all-knowing, always there.
You were there when Mike and I announced our separation right here on Kveller. You were there when my get was signed and Mike handed it to me in my open hands. You were there when my car accident happened and when my hand was so hurt, and you watched over me during my surgery in the ER. You were there when I woke up and asked for my children, and you were there when I had surgery again this summer. You were there when my ex brought my kids to see me for the first time after surgery, and you were there with us in shul this Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: me and my ex and our kids, davening (praying) together. You were there for all of it.
You’re in charge. You give. And apparently you take away, too. But even your taking is giving; this much I have learned to be true in these past two years.
Here’s one I want to give back to You, though: plunging the toilet.
I’m not trying to be funny, but I suppose it is funny.
I come from a traditional home where women do certain things and men do other things, and those things don’t change and don’t need to. Women cook and clean and tend to the children and complain about those things but also love those things, and men take out the trash and get gas for the car and balance the checkbook because that’s “men’s work.”
Yes, I sort of grew up like it was the 1940s. I know it’s weird because I was actually raised in the 1970s, but that’s just how I was raised, and my parents have been married and functioning like this for over 50 years. It seems to work fine for them. It’s what I know.
Although I am albeit more “experienced” than my mother in things like banking and pumping my own gas and such, I don’t want to plunge the toilet, God. I know it has to happen. My kids think the plunger is the funniest, most awesomest weird thing that exists, and they literally took a video of me plunging the toilet after a certain small person used WAY TOO MUCH toilet paper in his exuberance of wiping his own tush last weekend.
I love being a mom and all, but God, not like this. I didn’t want this. I didn’t plan to be divorced, and You in Your infinite wisdom obviously knew, but I know–it’s not like You could have given me a heads up about it or anything; I just had to have it all happen to me like this. All of it. Like this.
While we’re at it, I want You to know, God, that I didn’t want to take my car to the mechanic and have him tell me it’s $500 for something I later found out costs $150. I didn’t want to take the trash out every blessed week. I really didn’t ever imagine I’d be living alone with two children at 38. I didn’t want that.
In Your wisdom, You see all. You know my derech (path), even if I think my derech is looking pretty darn crooked. I want it straight. You believe its crookedness is for good, but it feels bad sometimes. I worry it might not ever straighten out. As I stare down the path, it’s like being on a hike in a deep canyon, with every curve in the path obstructed by brush, so I don’t know what’s coming next. I can see small stretches of light and goodness and golden bliss, but beyond that curve right there, I see nothing. It might be more of the same; it might be darkness and despair. I don’t know. I can’t see.
So, God: Thank You for seeing when I don’t. Thank You for giving me the strength to plunge the toilet, the sense of humor to laugh through it, and the faith that someday I won’t be sad when I have to plunge the toilet, wondering why You have decided that this is my derech.
People tell me I should get married. That would solve this plunging problem and countless more problems, they say. But no matter if I marry again or don’t, I have to become OK with plunging the toilet. I don’t want that tension I am experiencing lifted from me. Not yet; not when I still have more learning to do. The goal would be to not be sad when I consider that I have to plunge the toilet. The sadness is not because it involves removing feces and paper forcibly from the tiny hole that is the toilet. The sadness happens because it’s uncertain and new and weird.
This is the derech You have set me on, and I will walk it forever. I will take the car accident and the surgeries and the divorce and the children asking why they have to go back and forth to two homes, and I will take the toilet plunging and I will take the loneliness and I will also take the uncertainty.
Because with all of those things comes the one thing You have also left me with, which is stronger than all of that: hope.