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All beginnings are difficult.

So say our sages. What is the difference between this and "the longest journey starts with a single step"? The problem with that statement is that small journeys, even accidental journeys also start with a single step. When our sages tell us that "all beginnings are difficult"... they also mean to tell us that if it is not difficult, then it is not a beginning. This should not be disheartening... rather encouraging; for when you want to really start something there are always road blocks. Road blocks should not, therefore, make you feel like "this is a sign that I shouldn't be doing this." Exactly the opposite, those road blocks may indeed be a sign... a sign that you are embarking on something important and real.

It is with this in mind that I am beginning to write how I went from agnostic/atheist scientist to ultra-orthodox (jewish) scientist. It didn't happen over night.... more like 30 years and counting. There were times of big changes in a short period of time and there were long stretches when nothing much changed. Behaviours can change quickly, attitudes take longer... much, much longer. Part of the problem is knowing what attitudes need changing and which are fine the way they are. Moreover, sometimes you know a change should be made, but it is scary: If I do this, what next? But if I don't do this, what I am doing... what does this all mean? I'll try to add how I was feeling and how I think my loved ones were feeling as I review and retell the events.

On final note: a scientist, to my way of thinking, is someone who observes reality and adjusts his outlook to match that reality. Adjusting outlook is hard work, not so comfortable, and doesn't feel necessary for living. On the other hand, it may be (I think it definitely is) the most important and rewarding endeavor of one's (short) stay in this world. So I am a scientist; and Truth wins out over beauty every time.

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