Ever notice how children are so excited to celebrate events? This is especially true when it comes to birthdays. They count down the days and make elaborate plans on how to spend their special day.

But as an adult, approaching yet another of my own birthdays, my excitement wasn't nearly so keen. Another year passed, I sighed to myself… just another string of days, weeks, and months…one season leading to yet another…and our world remains unchanged…

As the morning of my birthday approached, one of my daughters asked me, "How are we going to celebrate this year?"

Winking, but somewhat glumly, I responded, "How about we celebrate by just forgetting about it?"

Celebrating an event means that the event has special significance and real importance. As such, it also means it carries true responsibility. Celebrating a birthday means celebrating your life, its importance, and its impact on the world around you. It means considering what you have achieved in the past and what you are meant to achieve in the future. It means believing that you, yes you, can make a profound difference and impact on our world.

There are moments when I feel charged and excited about the human potential, but frankly, on that morning of my birthday, I just wasn't. I wasn't in the mood of standing up to its responsibility; my shoulders sagged just thinking about the load. Couldn't we, just this year, just this once, just forget about it?

Fast forward a week-and-a-half later.

I am here in a Miami, Florida, where I have just delivered lectures on Judaism and Feminism and the Jewish approach to prayer. I have about an hour to spare before leaving to the airport for my flight back home. My host suggests that I'd enjoy browsing the famed "Shops of Bel Harbor," exclusive shops situated on a picturesque outdoor promenade and surrounded by luscious palms (my favorite trees) and outdoor fans.

Upon arrival, it doesn't take me long to realize that in these very exclusive shops I wouldn't be purchasing anything, but could still enjoy the surroundings while playing a mental guessing game of how much a dress or a pair of shoes could possibly cost before peeking at the astonishingly high price tags.

And then, about twenty minutes before my ride was scheduled to arrive, a woman approached me in one of the stores.

She began with some small talk before telling me, "I've been observing you for several minutes now. Ever since childhood, I've had a 'gift' of being able to 'read' and understand people. I've never approached anyone like this before, but I'm getting exceedingly strong vibes from you."

I was taken aback, but being tired of the window shopping, when she asked if we could sit in the shade outdoors and talk, I agreed.

She continued, "I feel like you have a strong message to deliver to this world. You are breaking ground and you will break even stronger ground!" She said very excitedly and forcefully. "I can feel your power and I'm telling you that I am getting goose bumps just talking like this to you. But please, don't let anyone or anything stop you from what you can achieve."

The setting and circumstances were almost surreal. Two strangers sitting at this promenade, under the palm trees, speaking so intensely.

Elena told me she was Jewish. We spoke about her Jewish mother (named Chana), her children and her young grandchildren. When I told her that I was here in Florida to lecture for Jewish groups, she gasped exclaiming that that verified her feelings that I had a "message" to share.

We spoke about spirituality and about Elena's strong spiritual inclinations and then about how she could find expression to it in the Judaism that she knew so little about.

And finally, before parting, Elena told me to make a wish. Excusing herself for having such cliché wishes, she confessed that her own wish was for world peace and unity, and that there should no longer be anyone lacking food.

And that was when we spoke about the dream and wish throughout our Jewish history of Moshiach and of world redemption—and how in truth, ever person, every soul, has a message and a mission to accomplish, to give to our world, and how we await that day when the ultimate message of G‑dliness and spiritual serenity will suffuse our entire world.

And as we parted, I wondered, were the messages that this stranger and I exchanged with one another at this surreal chance encounter, ones that we both needed to hear?