in the powdery sand to the beat of the soft lullaby the waves sang without any
idea where I was going. I came upon a sign on the beach in the form of
driftwood with a magic marker message: “Even if you’re lost, you’re here now
and that’s good enough!”
Lost . . .
I could have been lost, completely lost, with no clue how to get home. “What
was home? Where was home?” My spirit could have been destroyed in all the manyI could have been lost, with no clue how to get home
moments I wasn’t sure if I would make it, but I kept walking. I didn’t lose my
purpose. I kept going.
has been marked by transition and uncertainty—unpredictable, frightening
moments that catapulted me in the exact direction I was meant to go. I don’t
regret any of it because all of the wrong choices led me to the right places,
every step of the way. The thousands of experiences I’ve collected and the
miles I have traveled might not have been where I initially set out to go, but
they were exactly where I needed to be.
few weeks seemed to disappear, all stress washed away. I arrived exhausted at my daughter’s condo in
Hallandale Beach, Fla., well after midnight last night following a tumultuous
flight from New York, yet the allure of sunrise on the beach beckoned. I rose
before the crack of dawn, tiptoeing quietly down the hallway and out the door,
unprepared for the scene unfolding outside.
I drew in
a deep breath of cool, cleansing salty air and walked straight into the ocean,
or was it the sky? The colors melted so perfectly that the horizon was
undefined. Suddenly, the transition from night to day began; the world between
worlds, between light and dark, magical and surreal. Time seemed to stand
still. A kaleidoscope of vivid colors streaked the heavens and the surface of
the water. The production climaxed when the golden disk of the sun, bit by bit,
as if in slow motion, rose over the ocean, turning the crimson clouds into an intense
network of fiery orange and yellow strips. The sun rose higher, the brilliant
rays shined brightly and began to warm the air, the colors quickly faded, and
the show was over.
A new day
had come with new possibilities, a fresh page yet to be written.
Joseph evolved to greatness while alone in a foreign
land and garnered the necessary strength to remain true to his identity because
he saw the image of his father Jacob in his mind. And in accessing his
experiences with his father, Joseph saw his roots, his foundation, his own
image, his potential. I followed his example and remained connected to my roots
by recalling my father’s image. For all our history adds up to who we are—or
who, at least, we are always trying our best to be.
Chassidic philosophy teaches that sight validates.
“Seeing” allows one to take in the entire picture, even that which is otherwise
not obvious. My father’s guidance and teachings are sacred memories—portraits
painted on my soul, lifelong companions to sustain me and guide me to new
levels of seeing, feeling, perceiving and being.
I thought about the powerful life lessons
my father taught me:
faith: Never waver in your trust in G‑d, especially when things look bleak.
It’s the only thing to hold on to.
people: People’s struggles are real, regardless of how trivial they might seem.
Remain empathetic and extend as much grace as possible in respect for their
concerns, even when facing grave personal circumstances.
money: The real measure of wealth is how much one would be worth if all their
money was lost. Material possessions are insignificant if internal circumstance
are broken. Without purpose, surroundings feel purposeless. With a strong and
fulfilling function, humble external circumstances are much more palatable.
The author and her father
happiness: It’s bad enough when someone or something terrible causes you harm;
you do not need to elect to compound it by also being sad about it. Allowing a
person or situation to steal your happiness is your choice, albeit a
fear: Never allow fear into your life. The worst thing in the world is to be
afraid of anything or anyone. Only fear of G‑d is positive. Fear cripples and
paralyzes, and any decision made from fear is a wrong one.
religion: Religion is not a burdensome set of rules to impose on people, butYou stumbled? Accept it!
the means to paving a path of proper direction to a joyous, beautiful life.
Someone who isn’t happy is not a good advertisement for their religion.
community service: All that one gains only for himself or herself is of very
limited value. In service to others lies the real treasure—a treasure beyond all
imagining, a treasure multiplied by the number of lives touched.
realize I had walked all the way back to my daughter’s building until I heard
my grandchildren screaming from the terrace. “Savti! Where were you? We
couldn’t find you anywhere! We thought you were lost!”
rushed up the stairs to hug my little loves, I mused . . .
taught me about losing direction when life explodes in your face and doesn’t go
according to plan, and you get lost. Don’t get so caught up in the
disappointment and the self-loathing that you remain stuck in the situation.
here now. So you stumbled? Accept it, reclaim your abandoned self, don’t run
from yourself. Remember who you are. Focus on your strengths, not your flaws;
use them to move forward and find your purpose again. The tragedy would be to
never discover (and rediscover) yourself. You’re here now. That’s all that
person who left that sign on the beach knew all this already.