The Calm at the Eye of the Storm - On Becoming Religious
I am sitting at the Inner Harbor, in my favorite spot, about a foot from the water while I write this. It is cloudy but there is a great breeze and looking at the rippling water always captivates me. Even though there are a lot of people walking around and lots of background noise, there is something peaceful about just sitting here and enjoying the beauty of my surroundings. I think becoming religious was similar to this feeling. When I went to Israel the first time, my life was not very happy. I was directionless and purposeless. My parents had recently gotten divorced, I had few friends and no one I felt really understood me. I often wondered about the meaning of it all, whether there was a purpose and reason to life. Then I traveled to Israel and was introduced to Torah and Hashem’s love for us. I was taught that I have a special, unique purpose for being here, that Hashem put me here and gave me all my experiences for a reason. To me, learning that made the background noise fade somewhat and led me strive for that inner peace that I find today sitting at the Harbor. It gave me a solid core inside of knowing that all the hard things I was dealing with were for a reason; they were so I could grow and actualize my purpose. And while those things were, and still are, difficult to deal with, I knew they were happening fir a reason. And eventually, I would be able to look back on them and be thankful that I was given those challenges in order that I could grow. I still find it incredibly difficult to view the challenges in my life in this way while I am dealing with them, but I try to keep this in the back of my mind and it does make things a bit easier to deal with. So that is a little bit of why I became a baal teshuvah.