A few days ago, I was waiting at a bus stop with ds4 and ds5, when an older woman commented on how cute ds4’s dimples are. I smiled back at her and told her that it’s a gift from Heaven. She agreed, and told me that she’s chiloni (secular), but she believes in G-d. I smiled.
A minute later, I glanced in her direction and she looked as if she wanted to say something to me. She then said, “I keep looking at you because I can see you’re a religious woman and I want to ask for your help with something.” So I told her I don’t know how helpful I can be, but I’m happy to help if I can.
She continued, “Even though I’m secular, I truly believe there is a G-d. But sometimes I feel a heavy weight on my heart. What do you think I can do about this?” Now, that’s a big question to answer while waiting for a bus that was supposed to arrive in about two minutes!
I’m not a spiritual counselor or anything like that, but generally I would ask someone more about what they were feeling if they said something like this to me. That not being an option, I told her the following.
“I can only tell you what has been helpful for me personally, and that’s to try to speak to G-d directly. I don’t mean formal prayer from a prayerbook or in a synagogue, because sometimes people do that but there’s still a disconnect (stumbled here while I tried to remember the word I needed in Hebrew) between the heart and the head. Intellectually you know G-d is there but you still don’t feel it. I mean just talking throughout the day to Him, asking for whatever you need.”
“If I need to be somewhere by a certain time time and am waiting for a bus, I ask G-d to send me the bus you need, and thank Him when He does. If I’m in the store shopping, I ask Him to help me find the groceries I need within your my budget, that whatever money I have will be enough. Little things like that. G-d truly is our father, He cares about us and wants us to be happy, and He’s always there for us – but we have to move towards Him. When I speak to Him and I see He answers me, it helps me to feel more connected.”
The bus pulled up as I was finishing saying this, so I warmly wished her well and she thanked me very warmly, too.
Spirituality is very individual and everyone finds their own answers to their search for meaning and deeper connection.
What would you have said if you were asked this? Would you have found this a helpful suggestion, or would you have suggested something different entirely?