Tears in Heaven
People have called me to cry, and get guidance about this week’s massacre in Pittsburgh. I don’t have a clue about G-d and His ways, but if I had to imagine how things look in heaven, they might look something like this.
I am standing behind a white curtain, that is shielding an incredibly bright light. So bright, that while the curtain is blocking the direct impact, I can still feel the reverberations of the energy from behind that curtain. I can feel the heat of the light. It is so bright, it reminds me of the light of a welder. You know you aren’t supposed to look at it, but you also can’t help yourself.
It is so bright and inviting, yet at the same time, it feels that if I come any closer I will be absorbed by that light. So I stop.I hear sounds behind that curtain. The sounds are booming and subtle at the same time. It is the soft silhouette of something in the cacophony of the all the amperage.
I close my eyes trying to make out the sounds. As I pay close attention, it comes to me. It is the sound of crying. Even sobbing. Crying in heaven? This makes no sense. In heaven all is truth. All is real. Happiness and sadness are united in the face of truth. So I thought.
I hear a rushing sound amidst the noise. I want to investigate, but I feel something by my bare feet. It is liquid and it is coming from under the curtain. Instantly I understand. It is connected to the sobbing. These must be Gd’s tears, and He must be the one crying.
I don’t know protocol in these celestial realms, am I allowed to speak? May I ask questions? Can I explore what is evident around me? The last to question things in Heaven – The Angels that questioned Gd allowing the 10 Martyrs to be killed – were told to be quiet or the world would revert back to nothingness? Should I try?
Timidly at first, I call out from my side of the now fully pulsating curtain.
“G-d, is that You?”
“Yes, it is me.”
The sound is so much softer and gentler than I had ever imagined. I had always assumed that Gd’s voice would be a booming megaphone that would render me deaf if I ever heard it.
Emboldened by the softer tone, I pull all the courage I have inside me to speak more firmly.
“Gd, Sorry for the disrespect, but your voice is so gentle.”
“That is OK my son. Many people make that mistake. They confuse strength with noise. I don’t need to be loud to be powerful.”
Good point I think to myself. I do usually make that association.
“True strength needs no exterior signs to prove its power. It’s power is inherent and existential.”
Woah. That got deep real quickly. But I forge ahead.
“Can I ask some questions, now that we are talking already?” I continue.
“I am kinda busy here, but I will take just one question for now.”
OK, here goes.
“I am sitting here on earth, and I am trying to process what you allowed to happen in the Pittsburgh Massacre, and I just cannot make any sense of it! People are asking me questions, and I just don’t have answers. It is waking up old latent questions that we have pushed to the side for the longest of times, but now they are all back with a vengeance. Gd can you explain what is going on?”
I hear a deep deep sigh. One of those sighs that express a deep inner pain, a pain of bottled up frustrations that goes back many years even lifetimes.
“Was that you sighing Gd?”
“Yes” is the defeated reply I hear.
“One second” I continue, “I thought you are in charge of everything, if so why did you allow it to happen? Or worse, why did you cause it to happen? And if you could have stopped it, why didn’t you? And if you allowed it to happen, why are you sighing?”
“My son, I cannot explain this to you. You need to be Me to understand Me. I can tell you however, that I am with you and everyone else in their pain and sorrow. That bawling you heard earlier, was mine. Those tears you felt, they were mine. This incredible sadness I am enduring with all those victims and their families and those who suffered with them is intense.”
“I have my reasons, and perhaps at some later time I will be able to explain them to you. For now they are locked up in my personal treasury, destined to be My Divine secret.”
I feel frightened by the next words that are going to leave my mouth, but I feel like I may never get this opportunity again so I keep going.
“G-d, with the deepest respect for You and your unknowable ways, that answer is just not good enough for so many of us. We who have faith in You, who believe in You, who would die for Your holy name, are struggling. We need more info than ‘it is my secret for now.’”
“I know my son, and that is why I was crying. Not only for the fact that I am watching my children in pain. They are MY children. Which parent wants their child to be in pain? None. That includes Me. When you hurt, I hurt. When you cry, I cry. When you are struggling, I am struggling.”
“What makes me cry even more is that I cannot explain Myself to you. That is even more painful to Me. If I could just tell you My reasons, My ways, you would have some measure of comfort. Unfortunately, you don’t have My knowledge, My perspective, and therefore I simply cannot tell you much more.”
“Please, please My son, believe me when I tell you I am right there with you hurting real badly.”
I think I have run out of time with G-d. I fear pressing my luck any further. Besides, He already made it clear that he will not – cannot – explain any more.
As I prepare to thank Him for at least sharing His time with me. I hear a gentle whoosh as the curtains settle for but the briefest of moments.
“My son” G-d says to me, “Can I give you a hug?”
Taken quite aback, I wonder what that would feel like, and after our discussion, why He would even want to.
“Of course” I say. I close my eyes, as I await His Divine hug. It is hard to explain what happened next.
I felt this serene warmth envelop my entire being. I felt a sudden lightness of existence. I felt peace at my core. I felt like musical notes coming out of an instrument. I can’t make complete sense out of it all.
It felt like my unanswered questions, while they remained unanswered, were suddenly validated. They were honored and respected. They were taken in by Gd Himself. I felt a kinship with Him at the same time that I felt like he truly understood the depths of my despair of not understanding Him.
I felt that despite my inability to reconcile His words with my earthly reality, and the reality of those who had an actual loss of a loved one, we would remain in this relationship.
It felt like this is what a Divine hug must be.
We are looking past each other, at each other’s backs, yet we are in an embrace.