The ocean cliffside takes my breath away. I love looking at the algae growing on the rocks below. Two weeks ago, the entire Israeli coast was polluted with tar, and already, most of the algae has turned from a sickly color to vibrant green. How does the ocean heal so quickly? Is it the pure will to bring forth new life or the dedication of the volunteers cleaning the beaches?

Will I ever heal?Will the heaviness ever lift? Will the heaviness ever lift? How many times have I looked out over the ocean from these cliffs and prayed, “Please G‑d, let me have a child.”

I remember the first time Ariel said “us.” We were newly engaged. The word reverberated in my mind. Never again would it be my life and his life, but rather “our” life to build together.

I stare blurry-eyed at the ocean waves, my body heavy with grief. I don’t mind the cold. I feel numb to everything. It had been another six weeks of drugs. I did not give up. I had thanked G‑d for this challenge—for the greatest darkness is the moment of salvation itself. In one moment, I had hoped, all will be transformed and revealed as good all along. I refused to be threatened and confused by this overwhelming darkness. I had said to myself, Bishvili nivra haolam. “The entire world was made for me,” including the concealment of the “helem.” It is in these moments of darkness that my soul’s light can shine.

I watch an ocean that seemed infinite. A bird soared through the air with a fish in her mouth. G‑d, if there is a soul that needs to come into this world to help bring redemption, then please let me be a vessel for it—and if not, if it isn’t my soul’s mission, then I don’t want it. If it is my path to hold this soul to nurture it for the next nine months, please let me feel You holding me as I hold this baby.

I spot an elderly gentleman who sits alone. My broken heart feels wide open. I ask him about his life. His name is Shmuel and his wife has Alzheimer’s. It's all from G‑d, he said. He asked me why I don’t have children. “I honestly don’t know. G‑d doesn’t want it yet.”

“This year you will be blessed with a son,” he said with a smile. “I am not religious, but I grew up knowing the prayers. A Jew always prays; they just can’t help it.” I respond, “You and I have a long story with prayer.” He winked.

A school in Jerusalem had asked me to share my story. It is located close to the grave of the prophet Samuel, and I stop there to pray. I think about Chana’s prayer for a child. “G‑d this isn’t about me!” She said. “I want this child for You!”

I don't know why I want this child. Is it so that when my friends all rock their babies on their laps at my Shabbat table I can feel less horrible about myself? Is it to know I made Ariel a father? Is it so that I won’t have to do fertility treatments anymore?

Rabbi Akiva’sHow had he possibly survived? colleague watched him drown in a shipwreck. Later, when he saw Rabbi Akiva, he asked how he possibly survived? Rabbi Akiva responded, “I grabbed a board, and as each wave came, I bowed my head.”

Rabbi Akiva’s board was the Torah, and he bowed with humility towards each challenge that came. I can’t predict the waves to come, but I try to bow in humility to the power of the unknown. I will not let my fear of failure stop me from fulfilling my dream.

So many weeks of insomnia and prayer-filled, pillow-streaked nights. And now ... this new disappointment ...

The ocean below raged. G‑d, why? The tears began to flow. I wondered, is the ocean deep enough to hold my pain? I stand at the cliffs and feel as heavy as the rock beneath me. I say the familiar words of Psalm 145, “Who is merciful to all of his creations.” G‑d, I don’t feel your mercy. Help me feel your mercy. You shattered Your child’s hope. I want You to apologize. I watch the sun disappear into the waves.

A day later, I don’t have energy to go to the cliffs. Ariel picks up his siddur to pray Mincha. I have no desire to pray. My body follows the familiar motions. I say the words I know I need to hear, the familiar daily prayer of Mincha. As I reach Shema Koleinu (“G‑d listen to our voices”), the part where I am challenged to add my own personal prayer, I pause. I’m scared to pray. To open myself up just to get hurt yet again.

I open my eyes and realize my prayer has been answered in abundance. I see my loving husband praying, my husband who I prayed for and dreamed of. Here he is, in the kitchen, disarrayed from last night’s pasta dinner he cooked for me. Thank you for this moment. This moment feels so good. Thank you for saying yes to this moment. I ask again, and once again I am given exactly as I request.

Two weeks pass. My body feels heavy with grief. I don’t want to move. Yesterday would have been when we heard the heartbeat. Instead, we were handed a new protocol for another cycle. I don’t want to leave my bed, but I know if I make it to the cliffs, they will somehow open this closed heavy heart like the waves crashing into the jagged rocks, smoothing them out.

I go down to the ocean, I cannot resist putting my feet in the water. If I climb down, will I have the strength to climb back up? I don’t know and I don’t care. My feet guide me down the cliff trail. I turn to the cliffs above and tears flow. I hope they take the heaviness with them.

G‑d, this hurts. TheI feel like a shadow of myself ocean is healing. You are healing an entire ocean. I know you can heal me.

I don’t know how to heal from this. I feel like a shadow of myself. I open my siddur to say the morning blessings.

“Who gives the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night ... ”

Help me distinguish between reality and my opinion of it.

“Who opens the eyes of the blind ... ”

Let me see this moment as it is, without my lens of suffering. ... Let me see myself beyond this identity of victim.

“Who releases the bound ... ”

Release me from this toxic web of painful thoughts. Release me from the nightmares and fear. Release me from the expectations and judgements.

“Who straightens the bent ... ”

You created me in a way that when I walk, my head is over my heart. Allow my mind to rule over my emotions. Help me think kind thoughts that will encourage this wounded heart to heal.

Who clothes the naked ... ”

I don’t know who I am anymore—dress me in true clothing, not garments of a victim identity. As a daughter of the king let me reclaim my dignity.

Who forms the footsteps of man ... ”

You guided me here so help me feel guided not abandoned. The ocean is healing, and so will I.

The Shabbat delicacies are simmering. My heart is heavy, and I need to unburden it to light my candles in peace. The ocean cliffs beg me to climb down them to feel the sand in my fingers. I sit with the pain. There is no more running from it. I allow it to fill my body entirely. I am not afraid of you. You do not control me. I am here to heal you. The sensations try to drag my mind to dark places. I stay present to the sensations alone. “Thank you,” I repeat—my mantra. I don’t feel grateful. I use these words to clean me from the inside out. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Please G‑d, send mePlease G‑d, send me a present a present. I know I am so wealthy with blessings, but right now I need a present. Show me, please, that you are with me. I search the sand for some special sea-shell G‑d wants to offer me. As I climb the cliffs, I see Adi, my new friend who lives right on the cliffs. “I came to find you,” she said. A tear rolls down my cheek. G‑d you sent me a present. You are with me.

She takes me down a new trail and I climb onto a tire swing. I am 7 years old on our farm, watched over by my Mom as I play. Thank you for reminding me freedom is right here.

“Pray for me,” I ask her, “that G‑d will help me realize, baby or no baby, that I am free right here, right now.”

“I will,” she said, determined sincerity in her eyes.

“What is your deep desire?” I ask her.

“To feel the confidence of knowing I can make a difference in people’s lives as a psychotherapist.”

I laugh. “For me, your prayer has been answered. I felt so existentially lonely and you found me, and allowed me to experience how G‑d is with me, right here right now. You allowed me to remember this playful part of me.” I skip as we walk through the rain. “You gave me back my innocent spark of delight of praying and feeling how G‑d is listening.”

It’s my last morning at the ocean before I return home. I thought I would be embraced with a new light in my eye and the glow of pregnancy. I am coming home more broken than ever. I can’t return like this. I must spit out any last bit of tar, like the ocean.

I wipe the tar off my Blundstones and I open my siddur. “Open my lips that my words may declare your praise. G‑d, pray through me.” As I go through each blessing I pray for G‑d’s wants. G‑d’s desire to heal us, to bless us. G‑d bless me to feel blessed. G‑d, heal me because You want me to be healed emotionally.

As I reach “Forgive us our Father,” I say, “G‑d I forgive you.” I have tried living without You the last couple of weeks, and it’s too painful. Yes, You disappointed me so much; and yes, it’s all for the good. I don’t care if it’s all a cosmic set up; I just want You. I can’t be here without You another moment. I forgive You for hurting me. I just need You to be close to me again. I can forget about the pain; I can move on. For the sake of “our” relationship, I can forgive.

G‑d, heal the friendship we once had, when my heart was light with trust. Help me love You even more than I did before this pain.

I place my hand on my heart. I love you, body. Thank you body for bringing me cancer in my teens. Thank you for bringing me infertility now. Thank you for being my exact path. “Through my flesh I will know G‑d.” I am sorry for hurting you with so many injections and stress, and hating you for not doing exactly as I want. I hope we can heal this relationship. I kiss my siddur, my trusty sword. I can return home a loyal warrior in G‑d’s army.