Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: I SURRENDER ALL (to God) (don’t write about the song) (05/07/15)
TITLE: B'rikh hu
By Ann Grover
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Lev is gone, swallowed by the forest or the enemy, I know not which. I only know he will never come home to us.
I plead, weeping, to G-d, to save my Hana, save us all. Make the war go away, leaving us with our life as it was before, with bright geraniums on the step and bread baking in the oven. Lev planting grain and Hana sleeping in her basket in the garden. Let the air vibrate with the sound of birds, not echoing gunshots, the resinous aroma of pine trees drifting on the breeze, not the stench of blood and terror.
G-d, King of the Universe, can do this. He can create something from nothing. He is able to close the mouths of lions and halt the sun. It is a small thing for Him to turn away our enemy; one glance from His fiery eyes would send them running like cowering, yelping dogs back to Gehinnom where they were spawned.
The answer comes, like the softly whispering arrival of spring, a dragonfly tapping against the window, a bit of dandelion down borne aloft.
It is reckless and absurd. I am Jacob, wrestling with G-d, Jeremiah in the mud of Malchiah, David being pursued by Saul. Why does G-d ask me to do this outrageous thing?
I wash Hana, kissing each finger, stroking her fine hair. She laughs when I run my lips over her belly, and I moan, for the sweet pain of it. Her tiny hands tug at my hair, and I gather each touch, each sound from her, like stringing precious pearls on a cord. Hana, Hana, Hana.
I feed her again, my own hunger pangs like bayonets slicing my belly, but as nothing compared to the slashing in my heart. She sucks feebly; her face is pinched and gray, her arms scrawny. Her eyes seek mine, trusting, trusting, and she smiles; a dribble of watery milk escapes her lips.
I have stitched together a blanket from the lining of my jacket, embroidering flowers and crosses along the hem with threads pulled from my sweater. Dread squeezes my heart, for it is as a shroud in my trembling hands.
When the enemy comes, and they will come, Hana will be gone.
I beseech Him, to offer another way, to help me out of my struggle, but G-d is adamant. He gives me no alternative, no choice, only this treacherous, unforgivable thing. I imagine His hand reaching down, and His finger pierces my soul.
I surrender, for He who made the heavens and earth, says it is time.
On a tiny scrap of grimy paper, I write, My name is Ania Jedynak. My mother and father are dead. May God bless you.
With anguished sobs, I ask G-d to forgive me these untruths, for replacing Hana’s name with a Gentile name. I wrap her in the blanket and tuck the note inside the final fold. I kiss her one last time, breathing in her baby scent, the fragrance of hope, and place my hand on her head.
Hana, my sweet child. May G-d make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. May G-d bless you and guard you. May His light shine upon you, and may He be gracious to you. May the presence of G-d be with you and give you peace.
The Church of St. Hyacinth is not far away. I do not know St. Hyacinth, but I hope she will be kind to my Hana. I pray she will be beguiled by Hana’s sweetness, and will keep her safe and warm, caring for her. Then like seeing through a gauzy veil, I glimpse Hana’s wedding, her babies, her graying hair, and I know it is right to release G-d from my foolish expectations and place Hana in His hands.
B’rikh hu. Blessed is He.
Every moment is an eternity that passes too swiftly as I walk to the church. I lay Hana on the stone step and quickly turn away, lest her plaintive whimpers make me falter, causing me to snatch her up and flee into the forest with her, running until I find Lev’s bones.
I go home to wait.
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