I picked up the only coin I have larger than a penny. I used to have coins in my wallet. These days, I never have anything except a few odd pennies. Why is that? It isn’t even that I pay entirely by plastic. I actually do most of my grocery shopping with cash, so there ought to be coins. Quarters, dimes, nickels.
All I found was one single nickel, dated 1978.
That was the year I got a divorce, grabbed my kid, and moved us both to Israel.
It was a big year. A mighty year. I was giving up a really great job (the best one I ever had), a lot of close friends. I was moving with my 9-year-old son to a country where I knew no one and didn’t speak the language. I would stay there for almost ten years and then, I’d turn my life over (again) and move back to America.
I would come home for the rest of my life. And here I am in the middle of a pandemic. Of all my future predictions, this was NOT on the list.
I see my life in chapters. Childhood years from which I escaped via college and in the middle of that, married a man who was kind to me and was absolutely nothing like my father. It turned out that there’s a reason why early marriages often fail. You are young. He is young. You both change, but not necessarily in the same way. You don’t agree with each other anymore. We always liked each other, but between 18 and 30, I grew up. He was exactly the same as he was when we met and proud of it. When I said I wanted a divorce, he pointed out that he had not changed.
“I know,” I said. “And that is the problem.”
So I went to a place I’d always wanted to go.
At the end of January 1978, my son and I arrived at Lod airport. Neither of us had ever been to Israel. Owen knew absolutely nothing of the place. I had read a great deal about it … history, legends, guidebooks, and novels. We had no friends or family in the country, nor were we familiar with the language or customs.
Despite this, we would make it our home and both of us would grow to love it.
And the nickel reminded me of all of it.