In some ways, I’ve been through a lot. On the other hand, I laugh at myself: “Spoiled American! Generation X! You call these troubles? Trying to play the it-all-stems-back-to-issues-with-my-mother card?”

Really, it’s all relative. G‑d knows just which experiences will produce the best ‘me.’ It’s up to each of us to use our trampled past as a path to a smoother future.

I was 18, blonde, petite, and charming, with, yes, blue eyes. But inside, I ached with insecurity; I sought a love that had always been lacking.

The stage was set.

I met him at the mall. He relieved the awkward silence in the elevator. And somehow, as I exited, my phone digits just slipped from my mouth.

Six horrible months. I had given up on life. My hair grew long and stringy—why bother? What was the point?

I was convinced that G‑d wanted this. All the “signs” seemed to prove it. Too many romantic coincidences.

“This is my mission.”

“You’re here to help him. You’re like an angel,” his family lured me.

Haba’a litaher, misayin lo m’limala.” Take one step in the right direction and G‑d will assist.

I enrolled in a school of Torah, seeking Truth. Still, I was convinced that I was trapped by fate.

Alas, liberation!

The Rebbetzin1 said many things. Clouded by emotional fog, I failed to correlate the references to abused women and myself. But one thing was clear: G‑d had sent aI failed to correlate the references to abused women and myself. messenger to unlock my cage.

“And G‑d blew life into the nostrils of man.” But at times we have an existential blocked nose. With each spark of Truth that we inhale, our symptoms dwindle.

On that glimmering day of redemption, I was taught something fundamental: in a world of uncertainties and volatile confusion, we are not alone.

I had been so clueless about G‑d. But soon I learned that we have been provided with a Guidebook— the Torah.

Lesson number one: There may be justification, and all of the “signs” may be pointing to it, but if a decision is not healthy, if it doesn’t agree with the principles of Torah, it’s not Truth. Evacuate immediately.

We may not always understand why G‑d orchestrates certain scenarios. “Signs and coincidences” are to be heeded only if they inspire us. But beyond that, we are not prophets, nor should we attempt to be. We do not make decisions based on signs.

Furthermore,We are not prophets, nor should we attempt to be. our emotions and inclinations can be misleading. But we have the ability to override them, to opt for the sensible and the stable. “The mind rules over the heart,” Chassidut declares.

More than three years have passed since my personal redemption. I have been gathering more and more Truths from G‑d’s Guidebook. With each one, the world around me glows just a little more.

And at times, when the light is not so apparent, I remind myself, “Head over (heavy) heart.” I must learn from my past and, further, ride the bumps of life with joy, for they will come to elevate me.

Recently, I gave a pair of candles to a lady I met on the street. “Light them for Shabbat,” I told her.

She warmly exclaimed, “Why are you doing this? How kind!”

“I have been blessed to find some Truth, and I must share it.”