A few years' back, when I first started getting into Breslev, I went through a stage of thinking that I was really, finally, starting to 'know' stuff. Clearly, this was before the massive 'bad middot cleaning process' got under way, so all my amazing new 'knowingness' got grafted on to my arrogance, pride, victory-seeking and judgementalness.
It was quite a heady mix.
Then, the 'bad middot cleaning process' started in earnest, and what I knew started to shrink. I knew Moshiach was coming, and the world was definitely going to lunge into disaster and chaos before the end of 2007…
I knew that once I stopped working, 'everything' would sort out, including having more kids…
I knew that after I cleaned out all the spiritual gunk, things would start to get easier, and lighter and less complicated…
I also had a whole bunch of things that I knew about other people, and their issues and problems.
I just knew so and so was nuts. I knew that person was incredibly arrogant, and that this person was incredibly jealous. I knew people were spiteful, and insensitive and oblivious to other people's needs.
Then G-d enlightened me, and showed me that everything I just knew about other people was really just a mirror for me to see myself.
All my knowing collapsed into this: I know I have a whole bunch of massive character flaws. I know I've made - and keep making - a lot of bad mistakes. I know I want to do better, to be nicer. I know that without Rav Arush and Rebbe Nachman, I would be absolutely stuffed. I know that somehow, G-d is going to turn everything around for the best.
And that's all I know.
And there are some days, where even these 'knowings' get a bit shakey. On those days, like when I feel completely overwhelmed by the circumstances I find myself in, or the direction we seem to be heading in, or the problems that seem to be looming overhead, I don't know how it's all going to be OK. On those days, I hope. I pray. I believe, or try to believe more, that 'OK' is what it's going to be. But I don't know.
Today, I read an interview with Avivit Schaer, the mother of five who recently lost all of her children and husband in a terrible house fire. She has such quiet strength, such emuna, that G-d is behind everything, and that G-d is still good.
She doesn't know why it had to happen, but she still believes.
I think about Avivit a lot. I pray about her a lot. I ask G-d to send us moshiach quickly, so that he can revive the dead, and Avivit can get her family back.
While we were eating supper, my kids started telling me about another terrible tragedy: a family all killed when their car overturned and burst into flames- except for one seven year old survivor, who was thrown clear.
My youngest asked me 'why did G-d do that?'
I told her, I don't know.
Each day that passes, I feel I know less and less.
My husband laughs at me when I start the 'it's been a tough few weeks' conversation. Because we both realize: it's been a tough few months. Then; it's been a tough few years. Then; it's been tough since we met, 16 years' ago. Then; it's been tough right from the start.
It's tough. But still somehow good. And some days, amazingly good.
G-d, I don't know what you want from me, at the moment. I'm struggling to find words to say to you in my personal prayer. I'm struggling to think or focus; I'm struggling to know what to do, what even to hope for, or strive after, every day, all the time.
It's so overwhelming at the moment, that I've kind of shut down.
The last thing I know: it's all getting somewhere. It's all achieving something. It's all part of the Divine plan for fixing the world, your nation, my family, me, my soul.
But do I know how?
Nope. And maybe, I never will.