For my son

I’ve been away from my blog, and pretty much everything online, for the past week because of a big, joyous family event — my son’s bar mitzvah! My little guy is 13, and (according to Jewish tradition, if not reality), a man!

The celebration was wonderful, my kiddo did an amazing job, and it was great (but exhausting) to have family and friends visiting from all across the country. I managed to get through the ceremony itself without shedding any tears, but I was absolutely bursting with love and pride.

I gave a little talk as part of the service, focusing on the kiddo’s achievements and my hopes and prayers for his future. I kept it pretty brief and straight-forward, because he didn’t want to have to stand there while I engaged in emotional drama, so I didn’t include one thing that I really had hoped to fit in.

I came across this incredible poem last week, and felt that it summed up so perfectly what I wish for my son. I couldn’t include it at the bar mitzvah, but didn’t want to not use it in some way, and hope to find some nice way to share it with the kiddo (in a way that he won’t think is lame).

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share it here, and hope that you all find it as beautiful as I do.


Please Bring Strange Things
by Ursula LeGuin

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.