Friday, April 3, 2009


Many years ago, when I lived in the rural hills of Northwest Connecticut, I hated to venture out because I was afraid of getting lost. The roads where hilly and circuitous and didn't make sense to me after coming from the gridlike streets of Chicago. (Thank you Mrs. O'Leary's cow for allowing city planners to change the crazy pre-fire grid.)

Then one day, I had a serious reckoning with myself and told myself: You are never lost. You are always somewhere, typically on the planet earth, and often in Connecticut, and eventually, if you keep your wits about you, you will surface on a familiar road. Think of all the sights and adventures you will have as you are experiencing these new and different paths. Get over it. Breath. Go forth with adventure.

That self talk virtually changed my life and I became quite an explorer - some would say: gypsy. But I took off and navigated by wit, maps, GPS, or the sun. I always arrived where I wanted, sometimes directly, sometimes circuitously, and often, with adventures along the way.

I developed a good sense of direction and navigation.

I say this, because as we approach the Blessing of the Sun which happens every 28 years, I announced to my congregation that we would meet at the beach in Venice, Florida at 8 a.m. to celebrate the sunrise.

Let me tell you how nice this particular congregant was! Instead of saying, "Rabbi, have you lost your mind?!" -- she said, "Is this the beach we usually gather for sunsets?"

Hmmm, yepper, it is. I guess that would indeed be a miracle if the sun rose that morning from the west.

In my defense, I have moved from the gulf coast of Florida, where we enjoy glorious sunsets, to the beaches of Tampa Bay in St. Pete where we have beautiful sun and moon rises. And after 20 years of watching sunsets over the water near my home, I have to admit I am geographically and navigationally challenged by the sun rising by the water near my home.

Fortunally, I know how to find my way home, but geographically, I have yet to figure out why I am facing east when it seems to me I should be facing west. But you know what?

It makes little difference. The sun will rise. The sun will set. I have not left the planet. And I show up where and when I am supposed to show up. And I will live in wonder of this minor phenomenon until I decide to study a map and remember how my waters fit into the planet's surface.

Go forth in wonder and amazement.
Follow the sun. You will never be lost.

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