This post is written with my two daughters in mind. I don’t know if all women find spiritual guides, and I can’t speak about spiritual guides for men at all. I don’t know if there even is an equivalent for men. But for me, this is something that I hope my daughters will search for and find.
Lately, as I face two very intense emotional, physical, and spiritual experiences: 1). giving birth and 2). taking myself and my family through mikvah for a second more orthodox Jewish conversion. I have been struck by the fact that I am not facing these events alone. Sure my husband will be there, but he will be having the experience with me, not guiding it. I don’t think I really consciously realized before, how crucial having a spiritual guide is in this process.
Carol Schnitzler who runs the Mikvah, and Debbie Lesnick my midwife are two of these women to me. They are unbelievably humble and understated, considering the magnitude of what they do. They are not my best pals that I shoot the breeze with on a daily basis. They actually step into my life when I am preparing to strip myself emotionally, spiritually, and physically naked, to walk up and get as close as we get in this world with G-d. They take the hand of your soul and walk with you, guiding you through the most intense experiences of your life. Then they keep holding your hand, to make sure you make it back in one piece. When they are sure you are whole and safely delivered through this life changing event, they let go, and quietly move on to the next woman who needs them. They don’t hang out. They are in high demand. I can’t tell you how many women I have compared notes with and found that we have each “discovered” the best (same) spiritual guides. I don ‘t know if they even get much sleep, to tell you the truth, given how many women they help.
This has been on my mind lately. How simply and quietly they step in to my life when I need them, (during the biggest events of my life) and then just as quietly step back out when the need is over. They are like G-d’s travel guides.
Finding these women is not a “gimme”. I chose the wrong guide when I gave birth to my first child. She was a midwife, and looked like the real thing. But she was not up to the challenge, and the experience ended up being traumatic rather than amazing. Likewise, I have been to Mikvah with women in attendance that didn’t have a spiritual bone in their body. So, I am not sure of the exact formula. But give up any pictures in your head of what you think she will look like. Keep an open mind and heart. When you find her you will know. Can it be a man? I don’t think so, but I don’t honestly know.
And THANK YOU. To these women who have made such a difference in my life. Words are not enough.