In 1977 I read Be Here Now, the landmark hippie book by Ram Dass that started a spiritual revolution in this country and certainly started mine. After ingesting each page, everything in my life suddenly seemed to connect. God, a word that had almost been banished from my assimilating Jewish household continued to have negative connotations when I married my scientist husband. He would give me statistics on the wars fought over religion and I would say, yes but...

Growing up Jewish it wasn’t God I loved so much but the burgundy velvet seats in the synagogue, the minor key melodies that cried for all humanity, the rituals and the holidays like the Passover Seder where we put bitter herbs on top of the sweet Charosis because we couldn’t ever totally celebrate if one single person was still in bondage, and the pushka boxes where we dropped our babysitting nickels and dimes knowing that the money was going to Tikkun Olum (repair of the world).

As a grown up I lost most of that love and awe until I read Ram Dass’s words and with tsunami-like power I was swept back into my heart.

I felt related to every being. I loved every one and I hurt for every one. Coincidences were constant. On a gut level I knew they weren’t coincidences. I knew they were God’s way of reminding me that I was here to serve. I silently called them tiny miracles and even though each time one happened I would be surprised and I would still look up to some invisible heaven in shock and say “good one.”

My husband, the most open minded generous guy I know, never rolled his eyes, never put me down, never said I married a nutcase. He just validated each one I told him about. Wow, he would say. Another good one babe.

Then our son got sick and everything spiritual came to a screeching halt — my joy, my awe, my tiny miracles. I’m sure my heart just closed up shop and all I thought about was my boy’s health and my fear. I quit everything. I stopped going to parties, dinners, brunches. I had been singing in the congregational choir for three years and I quit that too. Bereft and feeling dry and abandoned I went for a walk one day after a huge storm. I looked up to the heavens and said (in my head of course) “God. I know you have other people you have to attend to and I know it’s mostly up to me to find you but I’m in desperate need of a sign.”

And then I had a stupid thought: “You’re not pissed because I’ve been singing in a gentile choir, are you?”

And then, in a millisecond of a millisecond, I saw right in front of me a tree that had fallen into the crook of another tree. It was actually blocking my way in the shape of a perfect huge cross. I gasped, looked up and said “good one.”

And I was back.

It’s been a long time since that experience and I haven’t had that alone feeling in ages. I’ve had my share of minor miracles and feel very connected to something I won’t call God anymore because there’s just too much darkness going on in the name. I use the word Light now, but no matter. It’s all the same.

I used to ride my bike years ago when the kids were in school. When I was in my 40s I would take my bike and a book and go on 50-mile trips through the Connecticut country side. In my 50s I would ride out to the Aquinnah shop for blueberry pancakes. In my 60s I rode less but I could still make the Lobsterville loop. Now I take embarrassingly short rides but I still get nature and beauty and a bit of a physical.

So the other day I threw my bike (I use the word threw loosely) on the car and decided I’d take a short ride in Katama. I parked my car at the pre-season empty parking lot at Right Fork Diner. I thought I’d go about 10 minutes and then turn around for a total of 20 minutes. I took a left and then a right but the wind was so harsh I decided to go back.

Just then a young kid about 20-something whizzed past me. He was riding standing up, pumping away at the pedals and my first thought was, wow, I can’t do that any more. And then I thought, I really have to push myself more. The kid kind of inspired me and gave me energy. So I didn’t turn around. I kept going with renewed vigor. I was riding pretty well but suddenly I worried that I wouldn’t remember how to get back to the car. Then I thought, you’re not late for anything. It’s all flat. Just do the whole circle.

I have never been an athlete and physical hard work has always been difficult. But I knew I’d be so proud of myself if I pushed on. So I did. I rode and I rode and just when I thought I couldn’t ride anymore I saw the intersection where the diner meets the fork. But it wasn’t the right intersection. At first I was crushed and lost all my mojo but then I lectured myself and said this is no accident. On a deeper level you wanted this. You are being invited to return to your former state of strength and perseverance. Keep going girl. It’s flat, for God sakes.

So I kept going. And going. And then just as I felt I couldn’t go another minute, I saw the intersection. Thank you, Lord! But it wasn’t the right intersection. Again. I knew I wasn’t going to collapse or die or fall over, but I also knew I was spent, and done with being proud and pushing myself. But I worked through this attitude and even started enjoying myself again knowing how happy I’d be when this was finally over. And I knew it had to be over soon. And sure enough, the next fork was it!

The relief was palpable. I threw, lifted, heaved the bike on the car and as I was driving back and I was so pleased and happy and proud. And here is the best part. The good one part. What do you think was the name of the first street sign I saw? Reward. I’m not kidding. Not Reward Lane. Not Reward Road. Not Reward Drive. Just Reward.

I had no alternative but to look up through the roof of the car and yell, “Good one God. Really, good one.”

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing from the Heart: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice (Hyperion/Little Brown) and teaches the Chilmark Writing Workshop. She is a commentator for NPR.