A Burning Fire and a River of Tears: One Day in My Shoes
Anonymous Issue date: 2/6/09 Section: Kol HaMevaser
ditor’s note: This article was submitted anonymously to protect the student’s identity and allow him to discuss the topic openly.
I wake up to a buzzing alarm clock signaling the arrival of another day and head out to daven. I concentrate as hard as I can and ask Hashem for help to face another day. I am the typical YU student. I go to morning seder, lunch, shiur, and then my secular classes. I am still the typical YU student. I sit down for supper, go to night seder, and then to Ma’ariv. Am I really the typical YU student? I spend my nights studying for the next day of classes; I work hard for my grades, but still find some time to spend with my friends. But as I get ready to put my head down for the night, exhausted from a trying day, I know that I am not the typical YU student; Hashem has given me the challenge of challenges, a challenge that leaves me muffling my cries on a tear-stained pillow as I slowly fall asleep.
Each of us has a challenge in the world, a roadblock on the highway of life that challenges us to become the best we can be. We are given these tests to help shape our character and to become masters of our desires, whatever they are. Whether the test is keeping Shabbat or learning afternoon seder between classes, we are all given a test in life. My own challenge keeps me up at night, preoccupies my thoughts during the day, and leaves me feeling like I am walking down a somber road in a lonely world: I am a religious Jew, living in the observant Jewish world, faced with the challenge of being a homosexual.