Back On My Journey

Posted on by Sandell Morse

In the fall when I decided to become a Bat Mitzvah, I also committed to blogging about my journey. I’d envisioned writing a number of short pieces, perhaps once a week.  that I would write more regularly. Easy, I’d thought. That’s not the way things turned out. I’ve been stalled. Family problems have intruded, certain of my sons feeling as if I’ve violated their privacy. I’ve been asked to change names. Perhaps, choose initials. But naming is an essence. I’ve had a hard time adjusting to what I must do. In addition, without regular classes or assignments, I’ve been focusing on other work, a series of essays about Jews in southwest France during WWII. And just this week, my beloved standard poodle, Lucy, died. She was failing, but her death came suddenly. Unexpectedly. And in recent months, I’ve been shadowed by doubt. Why am I doing this? Is my journey relevant? And for whom? I’ve proposed projects that involve my grand children, my children, most of whom—in my opinion—find my journey either a burden or unnecessary. “Why now?” one son has asked.
I think of Rabbi Hillel. “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if  I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
As Rabbi Lev has said my Bat Mitzvahwill be my Shehecheyanu moment. The Shehecheyanu, that most beautiful prayer I recite often when I hike in the mountains, a prayer people recite at the arrival of any long awaited occasion. Holidays come once a year, as does the first hike in the spring. Life cycle events come less often. Some of us get our Shehecheyanu moments at births, others at weddings. Some never get those blessed moments. Mine will come in the fall, a stopping point along my life’s journey. In the Shehecheyanu, we give thanks to the universe—some would say God—for sustaining us and allowing us to reach this moment, whatever that moment is.
And so, I’m back on my journey, and along the way, I will try to be more faithful to this blog. And I have a new date. Did I tell you? September 28, 2013. Sue Horowitz, musician, educator, friend is my guide. 


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