For one of my classes this semester I had to sit in on an (open) Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and they ended with the Serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. We recited it as a group, holding hands in a circle, and it struck me all over again as both brilliant and impossible to live up to: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
But I can’t tell the difference between what I can and can’t change. I feel responsible for everything and everyone. Instead of calming and reassuring me, the Serenity prayer makes me think of all of the things I should be able to fix, if only I could figure out where I left my super powers. I wish that saying it over and over again could make it sink in, along with all of the non-judgmental, one day at a time, generosity that plays such a big role in AA. I wish that I could say that I am starting to really get it, but I’m not sure. I try to tell myself that by self-publishing Yeshiva Girl I have at least taken another step forward, and that each step counts.
I have been so lucky with all of you, and the reviews you wrote for me, and your encouragement and kindness. And when I reached out to people from all different sectors of my life, they gave me such kind responses. I know so many good people now, so many inspiring, generous, warm-hearted people. It’s a whole different world from the one I grew up in, but, part of me still lives back there, in the dark and cold, short of breath and struggling to survive. I want that part of me to understand that things have changed, and that all of you wonderful people are in my life now. Maybe one day, she will.
Here’s to taking many more small steps in the New Year, towards happiness, friendship, health, accomplishment. Miss Ellie is hoping to get me to spend more time taking her to the dog park, and Miss Cricket is praying for heavy snowfall, and daily snowball fights throughout the winter, and long walks as soon as the snow stops. We can all dream, and, in the meantime, there are lots of chicken treats to keep the peace!
If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Amazon page and consider ordering the Kindle or Paperback version (or both!) of Yeshiva Girl.
Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish girl on Long Island named Izzy (short for Isabel). Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes that it’s true. Izzy’s father decides to send her to an Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, as if she’s the one who needs to be fixed. Izzy, in pain, smart, funny, and looking for people she can trust, finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment.