You can never plan a spiritual moment. A moment of connection with G‑d, an insight into the bigger picture can many times hit you without warning. Today, I had one of those moments.

Before I tell you how this spiritual moment occurred, let me give you some background. My oldest son, Gabriel, who just turned six, was born with a rare craniofacial birth defect called Treacher Collins Syndrome. This syndrome affects the bone structures in his face. It is something that everyone notices; therefore, it is something we have learned to live with openly as there is no hiding it.

We have been teaching Gabriel coping skills to keep him calm The past few weeks have been a bit stressful, as we were preparing for Gabriel's ninth surgery. The added stress with this surgery came when Gabriel articulated his fear of the mask before surgery. During his sixth surgery, we discovered that Gabriel has a propensity to become addicted to Valium-like drugs, therefore, he cannot receive any anti-anxiety medications before surgery. The doctors must use straight gas. Surgeries Seven and Eight forced Gabriel to contend with the mask. A few months ago, he explained to me that he was screaming for his Abba (Daddy) when they put the mask on and the nurses just held him down and put him to sleep with no Abba. Leading up to this ninth surgery, we have been teaching Gabriel coping skills to keep him calm as the nurses applied the mask. We gave him a mask to play with and ideas on how to stay composed, such as reciting the Shema Yisrael prayer.

It has always been a challenge for me to not consider the worst case scenarios prior to surgery. We have had a few very scary experiences with past surgeries. This time, the challenge was greater as I now had to help Gabriel cope. Needless to say, it has been a difficult time and leaning on G‑d for support and guidance has been enormous.

Gabriel had his surgery yesterday. I could not be more proud of him. Though when the mask came out, as he held Abba's hand this time, he completely freaked out, in all of the moments leading up to surgery, he was confident, brave, and in great spirits. Coming out of surgery, Gabriel let out a bunch of frustration, but after a few moments, he was calm and quiet. The surgery was successful and after an hour in the recovery room, we were in the car embarking on our four-hour drive home. As we turned the first corner after leaving the hospital parking garage, the sun was shining so bright, it was almost blinding. Gabriel said in a loud confident voice, "Ima, my teacher told me that I should not stare at the sun. It will hurt my eyes. However, when Moshiach [Redemption] comes, everyone's faces will be shining and everyone will talk to everyone." My husband, Jay, and I looked at each other in disbelief. What was it that our son had experienced while in surgery? This remarkable little boy clearly has a connection to G‑d that is greater than we can fathom.

My spiritual moment, however, was not this one, but one that came to me today, out of nowhere. My best friend told me this morning that I needed to walk – it is good for the psyche and good for the body. So often she is more in tune with my needs than I am. So I decided that since the kids are in school, I am going to walk. After I have my initial kvetchy discussion with myself (it is hot, I hate sweating, why did I wear this outfit, etc.), I turn my iPod on louder and choose to enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine, and the beautiful community in which I live. As I am walking, I am jolted by my phone ringing. The friend on the other end just received my update email about Gabriel's bravery and successful surgery. She says, "I do not know how you do it." I told her that G‑d has a purpose for all of us and that sometimes that purpose is hard to notice, however, for our family and most especially for our son, Gabriel, our purpose is clear. We need to teach others.

I didn't know what to say, but I knew that this water was cleansing meAs I hung up the phone, I saw the dock and was drawn toward it as tears formed bigger and bigger with each step. I had to sit on the dock, surrounded by the water. While the dock was stable, it swayed with the movement of the water reminding me that no uplifting experience happens without some uncertainty. As tears rolled down my face, I thanked G‑d over and over for the gift of Gabriel, for the success of the surgery, for the love of my husband, for the joy of my other children, Judah and Aviva, and for the support and caring from the community, one that we only just entered eleven months ago. I was overwhelmed by the magnificence of my surroundings, the brilliant sun, the cerulean sky, the swaying palm trees, and the ducks floating on the water. The water – it struck me. It is the water that is what separates us. It is the water that provides a purposeful separation. For example, it separates us when we wash our hands before HaMotzi (prayer over bread) and when we immerse in the mikvah. I took off my shoes and socks and plunged my feet into the water. I didn't know what to say, but I knew that this water was cleansing me. Cleansing me from being down and making a distinct separation from the trauma of the last few weeks to the next phase of moving up to a better place.

I slowly got up and continued on my way back home. I was noticing things around me, the tall mountains in the distance and the sky with clouds that looked like waves swooshing upwards. This is when it hit me. Everything around me – the palm trees, the mountains, the clouds – was pointing up to G‑d. I now understand that G‑d is helping to bring me up, and I have faith that He has a grand plan. As my gait got wider, I noticed that I was even walking taller, leaving all of my tension behind me in the water where I shed my tears and cleansed my skin.

As I rounded the last corner to my house, I looked up at the bright sun and the exquisite sky, and with tears running down my face, once again, it occurred to me that while we must wait for Redemption for our faces to shine, I felt that my face was glowing. Glowing, not just from the intensity of the sun, but glowing from the recognition that G‑d has shown me the meaning of yeridah l'tzorech aliyah, a decent for the purpose of an ascent, a saying taught to me by the very best friend who sent me on this journey. The pride I have in being a Jew, a woman with a distinct purpose, an admired member of such a phenomenal community, an adored wife, and a mother of such confident and amazing children swelled inside me. G‑d has a plan, and, thank G‑d, my family has been blessed to understand the meaning of yeridah l'tzorech aliyah. We have risen up from below and will continue to serve our purpose in teaching the world.