Welcome to Frum Girl Gone South

"The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason." -Terry Goodkind

Part 7

Posted By on June 4, 2011 in My Story | 0 comments

I went ahead and picked myself up and found a job.  I wanted to pull my own weight.  All ties with my family were officially broken (for now -more on this later).  I went ahead and set up an appointment with the local college to discuss the transfer of my credits.  I was relieved to find out that most all of my credits would transfer.  However, there were no grants that I could enroll in and a loan required some paperwork I did not have on me.  I also realized I had no means of transportation to get to college.

Instead of taking this as a disappointment, I decided to see this as an opportunity.  I decided to take a step back and find myself.  I realized that what I was going to pursue was the continuation of Early Childhood Education.  Was that not a choice I had made  based on what was acceptable in the community?  When that realization hit me, I decided to take this as a wake-up call and just put things on the back burner for now.  I took this time to find out what interests I had and perhaps try new things.  I had a lot to learn about myself now that I was not being held back by religious constraints.  So I accepted my position and I decided to enjoy life, explore the area of my new home, make new friends, and enjoy the awesome job I had landed.

I have to admit, that for a very long time I had felt like quite the failure.  I felt as though I had managed to break free from the constraints of such a narrow-minded religion to only end up not really making something of myself.  I wondered if I had had the means and the mode if things would have turned out differently.  Or perhaps if I’d have had a more supportive family I would have been able to pursue my true interests and become something.  See, I don’t have a PhD or degree in astrophysics.  I haven’t actually gotten that piece of paper that tells me I am a master of any subject.  I don’t really have anything to show for my gained freedom. Or so I had thought for a long time…

So what have I accomplished? Simply reshaping my thoughts on what can be considered an accomplishment, I realize I have actually accomplished a great deal –all thanks to the greatest feat of all called Freedom! I now have the freedom to think, freedom to ask questions, to research and pursue many many interests that I have. I am a dabbler. And a proud one at that! I love to research a topic to death and then move on, never really feeling quite sated but curiosity gets the best of me and I jump on over to another topic perhaps returning to the original one at a later date. Subjects ranging from HTML/CSS to physics and medicine, to crafting and sewing to astronomy! Am I a master of any of these subjects? Absolutely not! And I am content with that.I used to feel like a failure because of how often I hopped from thing to thing, but now I realize it’s this feeling.. this realization that I have FREEDOM to choose what I want to learn so flitting from thing to thing is what excites me! Subjects of interest are not being censored or banned. I am not constantly looking over my shoulder fearing I’d “get caught!” It is absolutely thrilling and I enjoy the process of learning all that there is and all that interests me. I constantly tell my daughter that although I school her, I am still a student and still learning. That the process of learning never ends as long as curiosity and questions abound! And that is the beauty of life -that there is always more to learn and more to explore!But I have digressed! Going back again- my first official job that I had, enabled me to meet so many interesting people. All walks of life! Many friendly people who took the time to talk. My time at that job really shook the last remnants of feeling like I didn’t quite fit in. I really did love my job!

The one thing I struggled still during this time was my faith. I felt very angry at the Judaic community. I felt very angry with god. I felt furious and let down by both people (specifically my family) and god. Yet, I couldn’t help attribute that I had successfully left and had found really good people who helped me due to some supernatural thing. I felt like I was trying to hang on to something, some sort of faith, a belief in a greater goodness. Would that be considered agnostic? Perhaps. It has all the markings of such. So I held onto those feelings. I felt like I needed it as an anchor, a crutch. Without it, I felt I’d fall flat on my face. Yes, I’d been told how strong I was for leaving, etc. But I didn’t feel strong at that time. I felt like I needed to attribute my success on the help of something greater than me. Now, many years later, I see this as foolish. Now I realize that the success is mine and not some imaginary being. I realize that there are good and decent people in this world because it is who they are. That it wasn’t some imaginary being that guided them into my life. Happenstance, coincidence, chaos theory, whatever you want to call it.. I happened upon some amazing people in my life! Some only entered my life for a brief moment. Some took full interest in me and my story and turned around and did something amazing. I’ll share a couple of stories about how good people are and how credit should go strictly to these good people and not some omnipotent individual who resides in the sky for guiding them into my life.

There was a pastor of a church from another state that came in to my workplace. I am not sure why, but he decided to sit and chat with me. As it was slow for me and I was bored, I thought it’d be a great way to pass the time. He told me about how his daughter left home at the age of fifteen and how even though he is a pastor and quite religious he did not push her away but let her find her way. He did not feel compelled to be angry at her, nor did he shun her. He was simply available for when and if she needed him. She was really young, she found herself pregnant and ended up returning home to her father for help. He was there for her and he told me that he felt that as a father he can imagine how heartbreaking it must be for my father. He said that he wanted to see my relationship with my family repaired. I don’t think he fully understood what it would take or if it were possible, but he offered to buy me or my father a plane ticket so we could meet and talk. He so much wanted to see things be better between us that although he didn’t even know me, he wanted to help me! His kindness was a surprise to me! A complete and total stranger sought to help me try and make amends with my family. I declined his kind gesture, of course, knowing it wouldn’t make a difference, but I cannot express to you how much his sincerity to help had meant to me.

He asked my permission if he could tell my story at his next sermon and if it’d be OK if they prayed for me.  I chuckled and said it was fine.  It was awful sweet of him and I saw no harm in doing so.  He was such a genuinely kind man.  I was beginning to find out that the world outside my old box was not a scary place.  It is indeed filled with some amazing people!  People pure of heart and good intentions. The other individual I’d like to tell you about would frequently stop in the workplace with some business related thing.  But I must give some background first before introducing him.To my surprise, the friendship I had with Sam was turning into something more.  Time and again I told Sam that I didn’t want him to ever feel like he was obligated to be my friend or hang out with me due to my not having anyone else.  Over and over again he reassured me that he wanted to spend time with me, that he liked spending time with me.  I had never known what it was to fall in love before.  I didn’t have opportunities to know what that was like, but here I was really and truly feeling a connection with Sam and finding myself wanting to spend time with him, as well.  Nothing could have prepared me for this thing called Love and I welcomed it.

At this point in my life, I really wanted to move out.  I loved the family that took me in and I enjoyed spending time with Sam, but I felt it was time I got a place of my own and be more independent.  However, I could not really afford a place on my small paycheck.

Sam and a couple of friends were also interested in finding a place of their own.  So, the four of us plus one baby (one of the friends was a single mother), decided to search for a town home with enough bedrooms and space for us.  We were really lucky to find one just right and it had plenty of room and bedrooms to comfortably accommodate four adults and a baby.

I have to say of all the moves I’ve made this was the easiest for me!!   I still didn’t have any belongings so it was really easy to move.  We got some hand me down furniture, beds, chipped in to get utensils, pots and pans and essentials.  It was a really exciting time in my life!  Between the four of us, we had a small amount of rent each with enough left to pay utilities and food!  And the new home would be closer to work so I could walk there.  I was on cloud nine!

The only thing we later learned that we needed to purchase was a fridge.  Apparently the previous renters bought their fridge and took it with them.  We four were living paycheck to paycheck and with the deposit down, we didn’t have the funds to buy a fridge.  So we were trying to figure this out.

Enter the story with the individual from work here.

I was sitting at my desk crunching some numbers at work trying to figure out how to pay for a fridge when the individual walks up and says hello.  Nothing unusual as he always says hi and asks how I am doing.  I tell him I’m doing good and wait to see if there’s anything I could help him with.  He sits down and starts to chat with me.  I’ve seen this individual for months now in and out of the office so he’s not new and I feel I could trust him.  We’ve already been through the pleasantries of “are you from around here?”  “how long have you lived here”, etc.  

I mention we’re getting ready to move to a townhouse and he seems especially happy for me knowing that it was a struggle to get to where I am.  He asked what I was working on and I explain that I was crunching numbers because we need a fridge.  I explained that it may be a few weeks before we can pull it off  and that the single mom and her baby may have to wait to move in because she can’t be without a fridge, so she’ll stay at her parents until we figure things out.  He nods in understanding and we chat some more.

The next day this individual walks over to me and hands me an envelope.  He completely caught me off guard and I ask what is this.  He places his hand over mine and says that he has more money than he knows what to do with and that he hopes this will help us.  I look in the envelope and there is five hundred dollars in cash inside!  

After picking up my jaw off of the ground, I shook my head furiously and try to hand him the envelope.  He absolutely refuses and says to me, “One day you will have an opportunity to help someone.  Perhaps not financially, but there are many ways one can help someone.  One day you will have the ability to help someone unconditionally, with no strings attached.  I hope that you do so.  I don’t want to see you or your friends struggle and I don’t want a baby to go without.  Take it, get your fridge and no more discussing this.”   He smiled.  He said he had an appointment and had to go.  I nodded and thanked him, still standing there stunned and in utter disbelief.  I don’t know how long I just stood there staring down at the envelope filled with more than enough cash to get a fridge.  I just couldn’t believe what had just transpired.  I vowed to myself that I’d repay him one day, but he got transferred and I never saw him again, nor did I have his address.  No strings attached yet to this day I wish I could find him and thank him one more time.  Not just thank him for the money, but for restoring my faith in mankind.  

There are some people that touch your life for the briefest of moments and leave such an impression forever with their kindness and pure sincerity.  There is definitely hope and that is what these two people and many many others after that have instilled in me after such a traumatizing time.  You will always find that sour grape but if you look hard enough, you will find that man is generally kind and caring.  This is something I will hold onto forever.  To this day I keep in mind the no strings attached kindness and I try to help those I can in whatever means I am able.  No strings attached.

There is much yet to tell…   my story has not ended here.  It is simply the beginning.

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