BLOG WITH RABBI JUDIAHAVAH
Rabbi JudiAhavah DelBourgo
December 22, 2022
“GOD WAS IN PLACE AND I, I DID NOT
KNOW IT” YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE LOST
TO FIND GOD
Do you have a rear windshield wiper on your vehicle?
Do you actually know where the switch is, and exactly
how to turn it on? (Maybe you can show me exactly
how to operate mine!). Earlier this fall, before the rain, I
accidentally turned the wiper controls in such a way that
surprised me. It seemed like - out of nowhere - that rear
windshield wiper turned on. I had stumbled upon the
action and could not repeat it if I tried. Immediately and
fondly, I heard the voices of my parents of blessed
memory saying,"[I] had to be lost to find it!" They would
often get a kick out of using this idiom.
Recently I was counseling a woman, Mia. She’s had 2
miscarriages over the last years. The most recent loss had
been on her mind, which prompted our phone call. As we
spoke, she was surprised to realize that it was a year ago
- almost to the day - that she had miscarried. I was not
surprised. The subconscious knows when yahrzeits and
anniversaries are upon us. I listened to her express
sadness and dashed hopes. In the beginning of the
bereavement, all she could do was keep busy. Now that
this grief had been re-awakened, she wanted to know,
"How do I move forward? I can't stop thinking about it."
We talked about different rituals she could experiment
with: writing a letter, lighting a candle, bereavement and
infertility support groups, or creating a dance piece. She
sounded hungry to hear about each one. As I spoke about
a particular grief counseling method, The Grief Recovery
Method, she became even more curious. She said, "You
know, it's funny, I think I bought the book written on the
topic about 10 years ago. It was suggested to me, but I
never actually read it."
She became more and more interested, then eagerly went
to find the book. When she returned, she sounded thrilled
to realize that, indeed, it was the book of which we were
speaking. She got quiet and then expressed astonishment
as she read an index card tucked into the title page, in her
husband's handwriting. Mia is Chinese and her husband
is not. Years ago he was learning Chinese language
symbols. On this index card, her husband had written a
Chinese symbol. On the flip side was the corresponding
English word. Mia exclaimed with tears of awe the
meaning of the Chinese symbol tucked into this long-
forgotten book about grief: Birthday. Chills went up my
arms. She texted me a photo of the corresponding word
in her husband's own handwriting. Amid the difficulty of
the grief, there was there was this profound message of
hope. The reminder of birth was right there in that grief
book - to which she was led at this particular time of
reawakened grief - and it brought her incredible comfort
Sometimes we need to be shown something we did not
know was there all the time.
Our Torah reading this week Vayetzei tells us about
Jacob's dream about angels. Jacob had just stolen his
brothers blessing and escaped the fury of his brother.
Though Jacob knew the way to his Uncle Lavan's family,
Jacob was "lost" in a sense, having lost touch with his
When he awakens from his amazing dream with God’s
angels and God speaking to him, Jacob says, "God was
in this place and I, I did not know it." God was in this
place and I, I did not know it.
How is God in your life and you have not known it?
Friends, we don't need to be lost to find holiness. We get
lost in our own thoughts, lost in decision making, lost in
emotions, and lost in how we communicate in some of
To discover the awe of God in this place, right here,
wherever we happen to be, we only need to be open so
the Source of Life can reach us.
Follow the tug like Mia did to not only reach out for
support, but also to open that book to find an "angel
card" with a message of hope.
Open to the messages of your dreams.
When you feel lost, especially when you feel lost - be it
in grief like Mia or trying to run from your actions like
Jacob - the best place to be is where you are, because
God is in this place, whether or not we know it. Don't.