Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thoughts by the sea - The Beginning of the Journey

About a month ago I was sitting on the beach, watching the sea, as the waves crashed on the seashore. It wasn't the usual beach in Tel Aviv: it was the beach where I spent many a summer afternoon as a small child. I was home in Ireland.

The air was cool--much cooler than I have gotten used to in the summer during the last 10 years--and it smelled like the sea: salt, water and sand. It was windy and I enjoyed the feeling of the salty wind against my face.

I felt like I was home.

I have felt that in many different places on various occasions, and that might be because I am home anywhere and a stranger everywhere. I have been uprooted so many times in my life that I'm not really sure what country to call home, what language call my own. Filling out the "Hometown" field on Facebook took me 25 minutes and I am still not sure if the answer is correct.

Sitting by the Celtic Sea the pleasant and oh so familiar scent of the seashore was suddenly replaced by a different smell: the freshly lit Shabbat candle, the lingering scent of challah baking and the cork of the bottle of wine used for Kiddush.

I was sure my mind was playing tricks on me. Shabbat candles, challah and wine corks in Co. Cork? But the scent lingered for me. And it was only me, who could smell the scent of Shabbat. The scent of home. The scent that for me, as a child, meant HaShem. Then another flash of scents: clovers and cinnamon: the Havdala spices and I was back to the salty watery reality.

What happened for me was the real beginning of a new spiritual journey. My own sacred moment with HaShem, who used the familiar scents of Shabbat to separate the Sacreed from the Profane as He let me understand the desire in my heart. And that desire is to learn more about HaShem and live a better life wherever I might be, connected to Him, and finally admitting: Ein od milvado.

"I am home anywhere if You are where I am." (Rich Mullins)
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