This past Sunday was my Nana’s unveiling. It was a small group, intimate and meaningful. In the days leading up to the ceremony, memories of Nana began to wash over me. Nana was superstitious and believed in signs. She firmly believed the soul could be revealed in the here and now. Just after she died, flowers bloomed in my garden; the first was a yellow rose. Yellow roses were her favorite. Once, when I was driving, I saw a shop sign that read, Nana Jackie. Clear indications that I am meant to feel her presence. But in the past few months, as I have been missing her more and more, it’s been harder and harder to pinpoint where and how she is reaching me from the world beyond.
Until this past Shabbat.
I began lighting the Shabbat candles. I took out my matches and realized the striker, the area where you strike the match and produce a flame, was out. Looking around, I saw the matches from my parents’ wedding. On the matches was a line indicating where people should sit, their table # and a space for a guest’s name. And oddly, the matchbook had my Nana and Papa’s names. I had yet to see this matchbook, but it was sitting on my shelf, waiting to be found.
I took my match, struck that striker, and of course, procured a flame. But I didn’t just produce the flames for Shabbat candles. I knew Nana was telling me what I needed to hear. That when our soulful fires need some tending and nurturing, our loved ones are close by to help us relight our match. Whether the signs are near or far, she was reminding me, the souls beyond the grave are closer than we think.
May the holy fire of our loved ones reignite our fire within.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.