Imagine a child, a beloved, rosy cheeked child who has known nothing but caring and attention their entire life, a baby standing up in their crib because the sun has come up and it is morning.
And they cry out for their mother... and there is no answer.
The gentle cries turn to louder ones, tears start, crying turns to screaming... and there is no answer.
The child doesn't even have the vocabulary to understand what they are missing, what they are fearing, all they know is they are feeling utterly alone, utterly abandoned, utterly destitute, and they scream with every scrap of volume they can muster... and there is no answer.
But just outside the door, their parent is there. And the parent is crying too, because they want nothing more than to rush to the side of the crib and pick up the child and give them everything they need, and more.
But the door is closed, the child cannot hear the parent, and the parent cannot come to the child.
This is Tisha B'av. We sit on the floor, and we cry, and something touches something deep within us, and we have a glimmer of that yearning, that all-encompassing desire for our parent to come and lift us up... but we don't even know what it is we're missing.
The metaphor of a young child isn't exactly right, because in so many ways, it is our own actions that have shut that door, we have failed to meet the conditions set by the parent for the door to be opened, and so we cry alone... and Hashem on his side of the door cries as well.
And yet the young child metaphor does work, because do we even appreciate what it is we're crying for? Not just the past tragedies, tragedies of 2000 years ago, 200 years ago, last year - not just those. But the tragedy that is tomorrow, that will be another day in a world where Hashem's presence isn't revealed, where we are so bereft of all that COULD be.
Sitting here on the floor with Shulamis, playing with her instead of sitting in shul, coaxing her to eat (she had stomach virus, nicely on the mend now, thank God)... sitting here with my beloved child and contemplating the immense tragedies of Jewish history and the fact that children - babies! - like her were slaughtered, is truly crushing, awesome and searing. But the fear that I have for the rest of my children's lives that they may live their entire lives in a world where God's face is still hidden is equally crushing.
May I see the redemption soon, but forget about me. May my children see it. May they live without fear, may they serve God as naturally as they breathe, may no enemy strike them down. May their communities exist without strife, may they love and be loved by all of klal yisroel, and may they see the rebuilt Beis Hamikdash and all the redemption in their lifetimes, soon, easily and healthily, amen.