My friend David Kelsey writes:
…There was a time, long after the fundamentals began to shift beneath my feet, when secularism was already mitigating even a “traditional” lifestyle that I began to suspect that I was not in just for a fall, but rather, a sustained, slow motion swan dive. It was at this time that I promised myself that I would always continue to keep Yom Kippur, and fast accordingly, and refrain from melacha at least on that day. At the time, I thought it would be to say that I was sorry it had worked out like that, but recently, I have instead internally defended this commitment as demonstrating to myself space for allowing for some meaning and aspects of truth even if I rejected the bulk of the mesorah itself.
What do you do when you have never regretted any move away from observance? But only regret you had not made the change earlier?
What do you do when you find every brake you press for the sake of observance has an annoying and debilitating effect on your life, replete with resentments and little or no payoff?
What if you prefer a secular lifestyle, and know that will never change, as long as you are single?
What if you are probably still single at least in part because you don’t want to have to make profound and even terrible choices about how to raise your kids in terms of Jewish education and ritual?
I am not yet at this most minimal expression of Torah Judaism.
But I’m getting there.
It seems to me most “successful” BTs come in as couples, often with young children. To be single and frum is difficult. To be a single BT, and to be one for years is next to impossible, demanding sacrifices greater than most of us can give. Perhaps my biggest regret is that I made that sacrifice. No one can give me back those years. No one.
[First noticed on Luke Ford’s blog. And a big Hat Tip to WD as well.]