COVID-19, loneliness and Torah: a ray of light

Dear Readers,
Since many are still going through challenging times with COVID-19 isolation, I wanted to share with you some beautiful, inspirational thoughts expressed by my wife, Rebbetzin Marcy, to a woman going through this challenge, with the hope that this will be an inspiration for many suffering during this time, and to help others to help those they know going through this challenge:

Dear Rebbetzin Fried,
Hope everything is well with you! I’m reaching out because I’m really struggling and need some advice. It’s been months of isolation during COVID and some days I feel like I’m going to go crazy. As a single person, I’m literally by myself all the time. B’Ezrat HaShem we will get through this, but it seems like the light at the end of the tunnel is taking its sweet time to show up. It’s all good because HaShem is in charge and He sees the big picture. But right now I have to say it is not easy.
I know I need to be in the tunnel, but I don’t know how much longer I can manage until I can see the light at the end!
The loneliness is really making me miss my extended family and I’m missing having a husband more than ever. It feels impossible. How can I date or even meet someone under these conditions? Who knows how long this will go on and then to start dating and hope to find someone and get married could take ages. Meantime, I’m suffering.
I am just trying to stay strong but it’s so hard. Any suggestions, words of wisdom or advice you can offer would be so helpful.

Thanks again for your time,
Rebecca H.

Hi Rebecca,
Thanks for your letter. I’m sorry to hear that this is so difficult for you. The best advice I can offer is to keep living your life with intention and fill every day with meaning. With or without a husband, you are valuable, important and have a lot to contribute. As you know, Hashem’s timeline doesn’t always match our own. Many different things are going on while you are moving forward, both for you and for the potential person who is intended to be your future husband.
Meantime, our job is to pray and do our personal work (our hishtadlus). Keep growing, learning Torah, and working on your own character development, while the person who is meant for you is (hopefully) doing their own work. When Hashem deems it time, you will meet, despite the challenges of time and place.
It’s important to fill your life with things that are meaningful for you. Staying connected to people as much as possible during this time of added isolation is critical. While some are unable to connect in person, many are available by phone and others are in fact willing to get together in socially distanced ways such as going for a mall walk or a coffee in the park.
Participate as much as you can in things that bring you joy. Take classes, work on self-development, your health, whatever it might be for you. Make goals for yourself — as you are today — not assuming you will share your life with someone because while that is a beautiful gift, it isn’t guaranteed. Utilize every moment of this precious life to live it to the fullest. In this way, use the gifts and talents that God has bestowed on you, working on your vessel to enable Hashem to bestow blessings on you.
Rest, eat healthy, laugh, spend time with people who make you feel good, read great books, learn Torah and find ways to keep life challenging in a good way so you keep growing.
Most importantly, during this time of uncertainty and constant change, we need to recognize all the gifts that we have NOW. There is not only light at the end of the tunnel, but the LIGHT is here, present, all the time. We need to see it, acknowledge it, accept that it’s good and that it’s enough. When we want more or are disappointed, it means we don’t trust that Hashem’s plan is good. As soon as we accept what we have and where we are with love and joy, and we do our best to do the most with what we’re given, then we experience joy and fulfillment.
Yes, this applies even in the most difficult times because it is during these challenges that Hashem enables us to access potential we never dreamed we had. Who knows, that could be the moment Hashem deems you ready for your bashert. And if not, you will have the benefit of being fulfilled, satisfied and joyful..
Turn to Hashem. Trust in His timeline. Stay strong. You can do this. Be safe and I hope to see you very soon.
Warm Regards,

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