when you stand beside the ocean (or the power of associative memory)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

—Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance”

One of the blogs I have in my RSS newsreader is Velveteen Rabbi, written by Rachel Barenblat. Last week she had a blog about the mikvah, which is NewBrightona pool or body of water used in the Jewish ritual of purification. That made me think of my days in Oklahoma City in the early 1980’s, when I was attending Friday even Shabbat services at the reform synagogue there. One service included a conversion ritual for a young man who, the rabbi said, had begun at the mikvah in Tulsa. That caused me to remember that the thing I disliked most about being on Oklahoma was having no access to the ocean. It made me think about how deeply grateful I am that Terry and I are less than an hour from the ocean here in Gilroy.

We don’t get there enough, I know, but it is there. And I can be there, feel the salt air, see and hear the crashing breakers, and yes, feel small, but know that there is much goodness and beauty in my life.

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