Sometimes, dreams inform reality, and explain how and why a deeply rooted feeling becomes part of your life’s story. Dreams can be so powerful that they remove a veil of confusion or doubt and set you on a path to a spiritual journey you hadn’t known how to begin. Here, then, was such a dream.

ISometimes, dreams inform reality dreamt that my beloved grandmother had passed away. A man I didn’t know came to me and gave me her gold wire-rimmed glasses with a note written in her hand and taped across the tops of the lenses. The only word I could read clearly was the diminutive “Rosie,” by which she sometimes called me.

The glasses were so familiar ... I placed them on my own face, only to find that I could see everything with astonishing clarity—not only my physical surroundings, but the place in the road of my spiritual journey where I should turn. When I awoke, every moment of the dream stuck in my mind. I was elated to come to the understanding that I could apply the lessons of faith and commitment to a Jewish life that my maternal grandparents imbued in me, though we were not always physically together. Since I was not raised in the faith, what a wondrous thing to literally see my way forward through the lens of my grandmother’s teaching and love of Judaism.

My grandparents are long since gone. But they left me a legacy to hold on to and to build upon, footsteps to follow in and an unwavering belief that I can nurture the Jewish woman I am working to become. My grandmother came to me in a dream with purpose and love to help me on my journey.

Sometimes, a dream can profoundly change your life. The dream brought back memories. I remembered my grandmother lighting Shabbat candles in her tiny apartment kitchen in Crown Heights, her hands lifting the flames upward before she covered her face to pray. I have now taught myself the prayers, so I can participate in this heart-lifting ritual in concert with Jewish women across the world. I can feel the pull of that circle and am strengthened by it.

WhenI decided to seek out a community of Jews I moved to my current home on the Gulf Coast, I decided to seek out a community of Jews. With only the foundation of visits to my grandparents as a very young child, I knew only that I yearned for a Jewish connection. I remembered going with them to shul on Saturday mornings and singing my heart out. But that was long ago, and frankly, now I was a little tentative and scared.

The group I came to belong to isn’t huge, but it’s amazing. I was gathered in, welcomed and treated like family. I began to study Hebrew and attend Torah studies. I learned to bake challah to bring to these special gatherings, so the rabbi could teach us how to make a blessing on it, and so that my new friends and I could share in the mitzvah of taking challah.

I cannot go back and change the fact that though I was born of Jewish parents, I was denied a Jewish upbringing. But little by little, I can learn to live the life my grandmother encouraged me to live in that extraordinary dream.