Conversations With God
By M. Kuhn
When I was little I would lie in bed and have conversations with G-d.
They were actually more like monologues because He never answered. I would
cry out to Him because I wanted to know what I had done that made my
parents fight all the time. I begged G-d to tell me what I had done to
make my daddy hit me and tell me what a disappointment I was . . . I loved
my daddy and he told me he loved me but I asked G-d over and over how
someone who loved me and who I loved so much back could hurt me as much as
my daddy did. My cries went unanswered night after night but still I
talked to G-d waiting for some kind of response.
Years went by. I participated in many extracurricular activities so as to
spend as little time at home as possible. I became very active in my
synagogues youth group and the national reform Jewish youth movement. Over
school breaks we would get together to laugh, sing and study with each
other at organized events. At these events we would hold Sabbath services
on Friday nights and Saturday mornings but they were different then the
ones our parents held . . . the prayers were the same but we wrote our own
special readings for in-between. We didn't sit in the pews but on the
Bimah or pulpit itself. We sang many of the traditional songs but with
On one such outing we stood for a prayer called the
Alenu -- it is a very important prayer and in the few seconds it took to
turn towards the Ark which holds the scrolls known as the Torah with the
words of the 5 Books of Moses I questioned the very existence of G-d and my
Judaism -- was there in fact a G-d -- did He hear my prayers. What was
this ancient language I was speaking and barely understood? Was I blindly
following what my parents had put before me and accepted merely on their
word . . . And then I became scared -- what if G-d did exist -- would He
hate me -- would I be punished . . . I stopped talking to G-d for a long
By the end of my four years in college I found out after confiding in a
rabbi that it was not a bad thing to question my faith -- that in fact
Judaism says one should -- because when you question your faith it makes
you stronger . . . It was after I graduated from college that my faith got
what I thought would be its strongest test.
My mother had been ill for
many years. She had a living will and a health care proxy -- she wanted to
preserve her quality of life -- no heroic measures or artificial feeding.
Emmah (Mommy) wanted to die at home, surrounded by her friends, her
family, even Champagne, our Westhighland Terrier. My father was the main
agent on the legal paperwork. It was his responsibility to take whatever
action it took to make sure my mother lived and died as she wished when she
could no longer speak for herself. I was his proxy. If he could not or
would not act, it was my responsibility to carry out my mothers wishes.
When I signed it at 18 I didn't think that the day would ever come where I
would have to carry out those responsibilities myself -- dad would always
But once again the relationship with my father was strained. I
didn't know about his tests until my sister called. First she said mom had
been admitted - I told her I was on my way. She told me to wait and she
would call back from the hospital in an hour. Sixty minutes later the
phone rang - dad had been admitted. He needed an emergency triple bypass
-- they would open him up at 6:30 a.m. the next day.
I did a lot of talking with G-d then. I asked for my father to be safe.
For the hands of the Doctors who were working on his case and performing
the surgery to have the strength and the knowledge to see him through. I
begged -- I pleaded with G-d to make my mother better -- to be the mother I
remembered -- not the sick frail woman I saw pleading to me with her eyes
to take her home to die when HMO committees told me they wouldn't pay for
24 hour care and the hospital could not release her without it.
was released after a week to recover at home. My mother never made it
back. Three hours after a call from the insurance company telling us that
they were evaluating the case the next morning at an emergency meeting, my
mother died -- alone in a hospital room on the Jewish holiday of Shavous.
It is said that it is very special to die on a Jewish holiday . . .
Many other things have happened since. I was downsized. I have been
looking for my b'shert -- my destiny to share my life with and had a series
of bad Internet dates with men who have dirty fingernails and chew with
their mouths open. I found a new job. My father has gotten engaged. I
found another new job. My sister married my bowling partner. Because of
these happenings I have come upon a few realizations . . .
When I called out to G-d as a little girl and he didn't answer, it didn't
mean He wasn't listening. When I questioned my faith in G-d, it didn't mean
He loved me any less. When my prayers to G-d to make my mother well were
unanswered, it didn't mean He didn't care. And so my conversations with
G-d still continue. Well, I talk a lot. He mostly listens.
from the December 1999 Edition of the Jewish Magazine