I’ll be honest. It can be hard to see G-d at the hospital. Particularly in the Oncology Department (aka cancer), and especially when you’re dealing with an incredibly RARE brain cancer. But watching the sun rise over the Grand Canal on Yom Kippur morning after a mostly sleepless night spent writing and a beautiful Kol Nidre service at home, I finally felt reconnected to G-d.
It seemed like the perfect culmination of events…
Mama and I had experienced a wonderful afternoon wandering around the Jewish ghetto. We sat at the Holocaust memorial and talked about how it would have affected her if she’d been born in 1942 Venice rather than San Francisco. We strolled around the square, arm-in-arm and perused the art, shops and cafes (museum and synagogue were closed for yom tov). I picked up a meaningful necklace featuring the blessing parents say over their children, which Mama used to say over me at our Shabbat dinners every Friday when I was a kid. We found some beautiful, locally made gifts to bring home for close friends and then we went out to lunch along our walk home. At lunch we met two Australian women – sisters – enjoying a pot of tea together and enjoyed hearing about their travels.
Mama and I returned home for a brief rest before a delicious pre- Yom Kippur dinner with More Diane (who is a wonderful healthy chef). We then all sat crowded around the laptop and listened to Kol Nidre. Hearing that old man’s voice ring out those ancient words while watching the sun set on out the window on the Grand Canal sent a chill up my spiritual spine; it brought tears to all of our eyes. We then watched Rabbi Naomi Levy’s inspiring streamed service, which we’d actually watched and were also thoroughly moved by the previous year, when we spent the Jewish High Holidays in the Cancer Treatment Center. Not that our impromptu Rosh Hashana celebration with the fellow Jewish patients, nurses and radiation techs wasn’t fun last year… but let’s say, Venice was a lot better.
I woke early on Yom Kippur feeling inspired to write as I watched beautiful Venice come to life as it fills with light ― one of the most breathtakingly beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. And I felt that connection. (For me, it was about as good a spiritual hit as seeing the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem at sunset.)
Shabbat Shalom Y’all!
(Brutal honestly: Seeing G-d seems to be a lot more difficult at home for some reason. I’ve been struggling lately, which is why this is being posted in November when I finished editing, and not on Yom Kippur. I hope you won’t make me wait until next Yom Kippur to forgive me 🙂