Jun 12, 2011
Breathing Underwater No More

R. B., who wrote about her struggles while Shidduch dating more than a year ago, tells the sequel to her story since she has 'emerged from her own pool of darkness.'

R. B. for COLlive.com

The crowd had waned. Most had trickled over to the other side of the field, where those who had completed the underwater swim were receiving medals, lavish attention and loud applause.

The blue speckled cap forged on. Behind her, she knew there were still a sorry few in her position. She must continue, at least to inspire them and spur them forward.

Her family sat on the bleachers, craning their necks in suspense and anticipation. If only they could do something. Anything. To help her in this journey, to bring the end nearer. But alas, the rules of the race had their hands tied. They could only watch in painful numbness as the others clambered out.

Blue speckled cap was almost alone now in her attempt. Even the others at the opposite side of the field were murmuring quietly about her. The festivities were over, it was time to move on. Yet some lingered, worried about the blue speckled cap. They approached her waiting family with sympathetic smiles.

“Let’s hope you’re all out of here soon…”

Words, only, but with so much connotation.

They smiled back, though they grit their teeth in determination and their eyes flashed with dignity.

“She’ll make it… she’s almost there now, look.”

And then, a sharp movement. Droplets of water arching onto the tarmac surrounding the pool. A wild hand reaching out to grasp the pool edge. Those waiting caught their breath, put a hand to their throats in eagerness and nervousness.

A head surfaced. Gasping for air and relishing its boundless measures. The hand clutched the side of the pool, knuckles white with effort and strength. Eyes followed, eyes wide with surprise and shock, looked over at the small gathering as the second hand made contact.

For a moment, the head laid itself softly on the grass. Blue speckles stood out against dark green. Then, slowly, the hat was removed and thrown out toward the bleachers. The gasping mother caught it, her face gradually lighting up.

Blue speckled cap placed her palms firmly on the grass and hoisted herself from the water. Her euphoric smile widened, softening her pained expression. She breathed in the sudden rush of air, filling her starved lungs. Then she laughed in delight, rivulets of water dripping down her face, mingling with her tears of relief. There were no words to describe her feelings of freedom, of joy, of indescribable happiness.

The atmosphere around her had visibly changed. The air, charged with tension before, now seemed light, golden almost. The journey was behind her, the moment was now. Congratulations and good wishes washed over, more intense in their meaningfulness than with the previous swimmers.
She stood amid all the blissful attention and her heart soared with the knowledge that she had tried, persevered and accomplished.

She looked back at the pool, where two or three friends were still struggling against the opposition. She remembered her own path and knew she would not forget the troubles and tribulations so fast. ‘I’m here for you,’ she whispered to them, willing them to hear. “I know the feeling of that darkness. I’m grateful that I emerged into light, but the pain doesn't just disappear- it gets overcome by the joy. It will forever enable me to reach out to others with sensitivity and understanding to their situation and to enable me to pray wholeheartedly that they came out of it.”


Yes, I’ve emerged from my own pool of darkness. And I promised that when I would, I would write a sequel to my ‘Breathing Underwater’ experience. I remember that when I read the request, despite my promises, I scorned at the very idea. The end did not seem near; it seemed sometimes likely that it might never come at all. Indeed, there were days when I resigned myself to living in the blackness forever and somehow making the most of it.

But Hashem runs the world, and it is He who can scoff and scorn, not us. And while I am grateful that He mercifully extracted me from my despair, I am also humbled and feel unworthy. My faith was not always so strong; my Emunah waivered more than once. Yet, I was deemed fitting for a salvation.

I always knew the Passuk, ‘Yeshuas Hashem Keheref Ayin’ and appreciated its value. Today, I don’t just appreciate it. I know it. I relate to it on a personal level. For in a short space of time, shorter than I could have ever imagined, I met the man whom I am now engaged to, the man who shone a bright light and opened a tunnel I thought did not have an end.

Yes, the joy and happiness is beyond description. I cannot put words to it, no matter how much I try. The feelings of absolute ecstasy are so overwhelming sometimes that I find myself positively breathless. That I should have my own happy ending, that I am deserving of a miracle like this one is a concept I still have yet to absorb. That I have been granted the opportunity to believe and trust again in mankind, in the world, and in Hashem’s kindness- is the most wonderful and wondrous thing.

The reactions of the world were… unreal. I never have experienced so much love, so much selflessness, so much care. So many made an effort to show me how my news touched them, inspired them, cheered them and made their day a better one. The extent of brochos and well wishes I received via all forms of communication blew me and my family away.

My cup is almost full. I only pour out a portion of my happiness to those still out there, still swimming, still trying to reach the end. Yes, I have emerged. But the droplets of water take time to dry. The memories of the hardships do not leave with me as I leave my parents home. Rather, they cement themselves onto my heart, a painful reminder of what might have been, a constant souvenir of my arduous journey and the depths of despair that engulfed me. The despair that still engulfs others…

I am no longer breathing underwater. I take fresh, healthy gulps of air, filling my lungs with the freedom I have gained. I look beyond the horizon, toward the future.

And still, I pray for those navigating their heart wrenching path. May they emerge soon, with praise and song, like I did.

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Opinions and Comments
beautiful mashal
(6/12/2011 10:10:38 PM)
and touching
(6/12/2011 10:16:40 PM)
simple solution
ppl seem to run into confusion bec they forget or were never taught how to get clarity & blessings in their life!


the Rebbeh promises is THE surest guarantee to channel the Rebbe's blessings in all matters!

when ppl claim to hav done that! invariably they have not actually applied the simple guidelines (taught in the sicha) re HOW to choose a RAV, & then HOW to consult...

in my 12 years in this field, i have never met one single single (pun intended) who has followed the sicha's instructions properly w/o overt & immediate blessings!
(6/12/2011 10:23:42 PM)
Beautifully written and so happy for you! B"H!!!
(6/12/2011 10:31:16 PM)
beautiful..very touching.
(6/12/2011 10:32:05 PM)
amazing artical!
You are an amazing writer! Continue writing and inspiring everyone!
(6/12/2011 10:45:26 PM)
I am truly inspired by what you wrote and that you kept true to your wrote and wrote back when you Boruch Hashem emerged. May i even think of having the same amount of kochos and emunah as this! you should build a binyan adei add with everything Bruchniyus UbGashmiyus.
(6/12/2011 11:10:42 PM)
Beautifully written.
Tried and true segulah for whatever one needs a brocho for: Be sincerely joyous for other people in their simcha. May everyone merit to have the brocha they need fulfilled NOW.
(6/12/2011 11:21:14 PM)
so you are getting married ?
(6/12/2011 11:32:37 PM)
Beautiful except....
This one line.
Congratulations and good wishes washed over, more intense in their meaningfulness than with the previous swimmers.

Some girls dont appreciate that. why should their simcha be any less normal or any different than all those who made it out first? What if the girl does not want her simcha tainted by the heartfelt "finally! I am so happy for you!"s and intense brochos as opposed to normal ones. What if she would rather not have a reminder of her painful journey every time she gets a Mazel Tov? is there any way to make her feel normal?
Perhaps this girl liked it, but remember not everyone does.
(6/13/2011 12:46:46 AM)
#...of first article
oh! nothing to complain, fight or comment about ;-)

may you happiness carry on and inspire others. amen!
(6/13/2011 12:55:05 AM)
Rivulets.. Great word!!
(6/13/2011 1:27:42 AM)
the one who really could have written it ;)
taken from my heart and soul and put into words.
unbelievable job!
(6/13/2011 1:28:53 AM)
to #9
yes she said that shes engaged!!
(6/13/2011 7:00:31 AM)
What an amazing piece of writing!
The writer has expressed what so many of us would have liked, but were'nt able to;
I am so inspired by this article, her words are written with warmth, understanding and passion!
May we merit to see many many more articles such as this one, very soon, as more and more of us exit triumphantly 'out of the pool,' with Hashems help
(6/13/2011 9:22:33 AM)
Just wondering
In the first article the author mentioned that she had older sisters who were not married yet. Did they get married before she got engaged?
(6/13/2011 9:51:59 AM)
This is written, as before with the first article, with the swimmer being someone other than myself- it is she who has reached the end bh, not myself but we thank you together for your kind responses :)
(6/13/2011 10:40:03 AM)
Thank you!
You've restored hope to me
Thank you for sharing this!
A brilliant piece of work
May we only share positive news on COL!
(6/13/2011 3:38:24 PM)
whats next
This article frankly disgusts me. You make it seem that the only reason worth living is to get married and that anyone who isn't has a meaningless life that is doomed to nothingness. What about achievong goals aside from getting married and raising a family? What about those who tried and tried but finding a soulmate simply has not worked out for a number of individuals? You imply that your trust in Hashem was contingent on Him sending you your soulmate and it was restored only once you met the one you love. What kind of message does that send out to the world especially those people who truly are making the greatest effort possible to get engaged but who have been thus far unsuccessful or who have accepted the fast that marriage was just not written in their destiny. Should those people stop believing in Hashem?
(6/14/2011 12:03:40 AM)
Thank you for the uplifting article.

To #3
where can I find that sicha? thanks.
(6/14/2011 2:15:44 AM)
To the Author
You are a very talented writer and used very well place imagery
(6/15/2011 9:49:26 PM)
to numer 19
(6/17/2011 12:54:12 PM)
Very nice....
So happy to read....!


Yes, I have emerged. But the droplets of water take time to dry. The memories of the hardships do not leave with me as I leave my parents home. Rather, they cement themselves onto my heart, a painful reminder of what might have been, a constant souvenir of my arduous journey and the depths of despair that engulfed me. The despair that still engulfs others…
(6/28/2011 11:01:59 PM)
Pursue your writing
I'm a professional writer and can recognize talent. I hope you continue to pursue your writing.
(7/29/2011 10:46:58 AM)
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