The Universe Sent Me a Shabbat Message

June 16, 2008Wendy Nelson

My daughter graduated from high school Saturday. The weather changed from cold and rainy to a sunny 80 degree day. The plague of cicadas awaited for 17 years and due to arrive by now were yet to emerge from the ground. I arrived early and got a front row seat knowing that I could not miss seeing my beloved child on this special day. It was Shabbat and all was right. The ceremony began with a chorus of beautiful voices of young men and women and by the second song all eyes turned to the heavens. From a very high set of lights that illuminate the field at night there was a nest with two small heads peeking over. Fledgling Osprey, unnoticed before peered down at the choir from their distant perch... and one began to sing.

Ospreys are not known for their beautiful songs; they have more of a call. But today one inspired baby Osprey sang along canary style with the teenage chorus for two songs and then stopped when they did and both babies disappeared from sight. I cried. Some speeches followed and the chorus returned for another song. All faces turned up immediately to look for the baby birds and within a few notes two faces peered over the edge of the nest. This time, the inspired Osprey began to sing and then fully spread its small wings and began moving rhythmically appearing to dance. At the song's finish, the speaker at the podium announced that it was time to read the graduates names and wish them goodbye for the final time. And the baby took flight both literally and symbolically while we parents watched all of our babies take flight. As the names were read it soared back and forth far above our heads eventually landing back in the nest. I was mesmerized by the metaphor, by the connection, by the coincidence? I don't believe in God...never have. I also am an observant, practicing and diligent Reform Jew who can appreciate Godlike moments. If the universe is sending me a message it certainly has my attention. In moments when it feels like God suspend belief and just feel the beauty and the joy and, if you are me, cry.

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