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The House of Darkness

by Mel Waldman

I am a Jew! And I have lived inside the House of Darkness. Even now, I often dwell in this underground kingdom — a vast landscape of bleak terrain — where hope and wishes merely fuel the never-ending flames of despair.

At night, I sleep in this eerie phantasmagoria, swept away by torrential downfalls of trauma. It is my private Rain Forest of Hell! Yes, I have suffered much and my innocence, an ancient, pristine garment, was murdered — mutilated — ripped and torn to shreds — so long ago I can’t recall the invisible demarcation point when I stopped believing in G-d.

I am a Jew! I am proud of my Jewish heritage and the culture of learning, curiosity, and achievement that helped mold and create who I am.

I am a Jew! And I struggle to believe...

I have been confronted with good and evil and a vast landscape of ambiguous morality — compelling me to face ethical dilemmas and make painful, heartrending decisions based upon my limited knowledge and flawed spirituality.

I have prayed furiously to G-d and often, it seemed He did not respond to my earnest pleas.

Once a practicing Orthodox Jew, I have only the shattered memories of my faith, perhaps. Or has G-d come to me in other ways — blessing me each day with His divine gifts while waiting patiently for me to feel His presence?

I am a Jew! I am also a poet/writer and therapist. When I am immersed in the act of creativity — I feel connected to the universe, blessed by the act of creation. And when I am connected, I find my way home — back to my mysterious G-d and His magnificent universe: a kingdom vast and incomprehensible and beautiful!

In my youth, I experienced absolute faith and lost it. Now, as a man who has been touched by good and evil, I face the world with penetrating eyes. I will not deny the ubiquitous presence of evil. Nor will I look away from the glorious universe we inhabit. Before me, I see a bewildering landscape of ineffable grandeur and divine mystery.

Nearby, I see the House of Darkness. Perhaps I will sleep there tonight. With humility, ignorance, and much trepidation, I approach this dark mansion that terrifies and overwhelms me.

In my past, when I slept there, the House of Darkness exploded, splitting my broken soul into shards of despair. Yet tonight, I believe... that inside the House of Darkness I may discover... the House of Light and once again — Hashem!

I am a Jew with flawed faith. But now, it is time to create. With each act of creation, I rediscover the divine, repair my fragmented soul and the shattered universe.

Tikkun olam! Repair of the world!

Tikkun! Repair! I must repair myself! I must raise the divine sparks! Yes, it is time to repair!

A poet/writer, I now create a divine ending to the story of my life. Divine sparks are shattered across the lonely landscape of my being. But beyond my private Waste Land...? A whirling wind reunites the scattered sparks. In a moment of miracles, I feel His presence. I recite the Shema, the central prayer of Judaism, and rush slowly toward Hashem!

A divine ending...? Or is it a glorious beginning?

Copyright © 2007 by Mel Waldman

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