Dear Mom,

The other day, during prayer, my heart suddenly became immersed in an amazing realization, the realization that every single moment of my conscious life has been marked by the Presence of God. Even before I had self-awareness, God enshrouded me. As the Psalmist writes, "you knit me together in my mother's womb. I am awesomely, wondrously fashioned {by God}." Many of my earliest memories center on God. This Divine Being has been the consuming Force of my life, cradling me through heartache, giving me occasional, ecstatically close moments that have remained with me and enabled me to become a better person.

You often told me, Mom, that from the moment you found out you were pregnant with me, you rose each and every morning, drove to the First Baptist Church, knelt at the altar, and dedicated me to God. You often reminded me of the time, when I was three, when you stood watching me ride my tricycle from one end of the block to the other, and then you asked who I was waving at. "God," I told you. When I rebelled and did some pretty horrible things, you told me God loves me unconditionally, and that nothing I could ever do would separate me from that love. Your greatest desire for me was that I never forsake God.

In the decades that have passed, my ideas about God have changed drastically, but my connection to God has only become more intense, deeper, stronger. A week ago I had one of those occasional, ecstatic moments of connection to God which affected my sight spiritually, emotionally and physically. As a result, I've finally gotten a grip on some of my emotional struggles. I've spiritually broken through barriers I'd erected in prayer. And yes, I'm even visually noticing amazing details of all the life in motion around me.

I want more of God. I long for more of the Divine. And my longing makes the Divine accessible, immanent.

A little more than a year ago, you left the earth to be with God and I'm wondering at this moment where you are in your journey. Recently, at kallah, we chanted parts of the kaddish, and were told to chant it not as a personal praise, but as an awareness of our deceased loved ones singing these words of praise


us. When I left that room, I was unable to speak for an hour. This was the moment I just wrote about, the moment I felt and saw sparks of the Divine in everything around me - the foliage and sky and even a pile of rocks emanating life. And I know that wherever you are in your journey, you are experiencing that ecstasy 1,000 times beyond this. Your being sings the same essential praise to God that I sang for you and dad last week. Your being


the same essence as that of the Divine.

I know that as I begin my studies to become a rabbi, it isn't what you thought would happen to me. You never even knew that six years ago, I became a Jew. I could never tell you because you had grown old, were entering senility, and I couldn't let you leave this world fearing for me, heartbroken that I no longer believed in the Jesus of your religion. But I think you know now that I'm vastly beyond OK. You know now that we're serving the same

Echad, and

that all of our theology is beyond the Being of God. You were the first to teach me of that encompassing love.

Thank you for dedicating me to God.