Hope Will Find You
My Search for the Wisdom to Stop Waiting and Start Living
by Naomi Levy
Naomi Levy was in the first class of women admitted to study for the rabbinate at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and was the first female conservative rabbi to lead a West Coast congregation. But nothing, not even her faith, prepared her for the day her young daughter, Noa, was diagnosed with a fatal neurological disease. Suddenly, nothing else mattered. Life could wait. Ministry could wait. Everything could wait until she had figured out a way to heal her daughter.
It took years of watching Noa struggle with everyday activities that other kids took for granted and rejoicing as she faced them and triumphed again and again before Levy understood how faith, hope, and God were part of the picture — how life, with whatever it brought, was to be lived to the fullest, every moment of every day. She came to understand that no one can wait until he or she finds the “right” job or the “right” partner, has the “right” amount of money, loses weight, or even recovers from an illness to begin to really live life. She accepted that, even with God, “life wasn’t necessarily going to be a picnic,” and she learned to live it joyfully anyway.
The idea that we are “found” by hope came from Noa, who said, “If you really try to enjoy life, you will find hope. No... hope will find you.”
“We all get blindsided by life, we all get stuck, we all imagine that the right life or the right answer is somewhere off in the distance, but the real life we’ve been searching for is here in the fog,” writes Levy. “Noa taught me to see that hope was looking for me, that hope would track us all down... Hope, I’ve learned, is about stepping inside life instead of waiting on the sidelines. It’s about welcoming what’s there. Because when you open yourself to it, hope is everywhere.”