“Are you out of your mind? Just look at what’s happening to me? How could you do this?”
They were sitting together on the edge of Mallorie’s bed in the dark. It was just after two in the morning but she couldn’t sleep. She barely ate. She hadn’t been to class in a week. She just stayed in her bedroom in an apartment she shared with two other girls, toggling between mind-numbing despair and panic.
“I never said bad things wouldn’t happen in your life, Mallorie. I just said I’d be here to help you deal with them.”
The young college student wiped tears from red, swollen eyes and tried to compose herself.
“I do trust you.” She started sobbing again, then forced herself to stop.
“I don’t know. Maybe I don’t. I mean if I did, why are my emotions so out of control? Please, please have mercy. I need to heal. My Daddy’s throat cancer need to heal and only you can help.”
“I know sweetheart.” He put an arm around her shoulder and pulled her in close.
“I need us to be closer now. I need you to be really close to me.”
“I know that, too.”
Sadness and tears suddenly erupted into blazing rage and screaming. Mal pushed him away, got into his face and exploded.
“Then why, why, why? Why does my Daddy have cancer? Why the day after he was diagnosed was I raped by a boy I thought loved me and who would comfort me? Why am I afraid all the time? Where the hell were you when all this happened to me?”
“I’m glad you trust me enough to show me all your pain.”
“You aren’t helping, you bastard!”
“How can you be so calm at a time like this?”
“Because you need me to be, Mal.”
She started sobbing again, grabbed him, and hugged him tightly.
“Oh God, what am I going to do now?”
“We’ll find the way together, Mal. We always have, ever since you were a little girl. You know that.”
Her voice was muffled as she pressed her face against his chest. “I know. I remember.”
“It’s okay to yell and scream at me, Mal. It’s what I’m here for. You can never push me away, no matter what you say or do. I’m always here. Your being honest with me openly makes your faith stronger, not weaker.”
She pulled her face away from him and looked up into his eyes. “Really?”
Mal knew that was true when she was calm enough to realize it, and even in deep depression or hot anger, she knew it then too. That’s what let her yell and scream and wail in the face of Hashem, Creator of the Universe, God. Even when life fell completely apart, He would help her rebuild it. He would help her to become stronger. He would never abandon her or fail her, even when it seemed like He did.
This might not seem like much of a story, but given all of the strife I’ve witnessed on the social and news media outlets for the past week or so, I thought a story about trust in the face of uncertainty and even disaster was appropriate.
Actually, I can’t do justice to my inspiration. A Jewish woman named Lori Samlin Miller wrote an article for Aish.com called God, Stay Where I Can See You chronicling her and her family’s struggle after her husband was diagnosed with throat cancer.
It’s a bit of a long read, longer than this piece of flash fiction, but well worth it. Yes, you can panic, fly into a rage, sink into horrible despair, and still deeply trust in God.
In the end, people will fail you, circumstances will take a turn for the worst, and you’ll find yourself alone and afraid. Only the Creator of the Universe and the Lover of Your Soul will always be present…even when you’re really mad at Him and try to push Him away.