The extended family was spending Shabbat together, and we were eating the meals in a house a couple miles away from where we would be staying. It was my husband’s hometown, so he knew the area well, but I didn’t. So we printed out a map in case the younger kids got tired and I needed to walk back before him.

On paper, the route looked pretty simple. There were a lot of turns and side streets, but the directions were clearly typed out and how hard can it be to follow a suburban map? Well, I found out later that Friday night.

My husband wanted to stay after dinner to catch up with his family, but the kids were so tired. So I pulled out the map, bundled everyone up and headed out into the night. The temps had dropped to below freezing and the sidewalks were coated with a thin, invisible sheet of ice. It had snowed while we were eating dinner and the street signs were hidden under a white frost, obscuring the names of the streets. I had one exhausted child bundled up in a stroller and three other children trying not to slip on the ice who, like me, were peering up at the snow-covered street signs.

It only took a few minutes for us to realize that we were lost. “Ima, I think we just went in a circle,” one of my daughters said. We looked up and down the street, but all the houses looked eerily similar.

“Are we lost?” my youngest asked.

“No, no. We’re just changing the route here,” I reassured him, wishing for the comforting voice of the GPS that always seemed to know how to re-calculate any route. The kids looked worried.

“Don’t worry, we will find the way. This is an adventure!” I exclaimed, trying to remain optimistic as we turned down another dark corner. But this wasn’t an adventure; it was a poorly executed plan becoming dangerous. It was dark and freezing. And we were lost with no phone and a useless map.

One of the houses covered with blinking holiday lights looked faintly familiar. “Let’s turn here,” I suggested in a tone of desperate confidence, thinking that this had to be the way back from where we started.

As we made our way down the icy block, we spotted my brother-in-law’s house on the corner. The kids cheered and I sighed with relief.

Just then, my son who was sitting in the stroller exclaimed, “Ima, look at the stars!” He was gazing up at the sky, the reflection of millions of tiny lights glittering in his eyes. We all stopped for a moment and looked up. We had been so intent on finding our way that none of us had noticed what a gorgeous, star-filled night it was.

The moon shivered above us, casting an ethereal glow into the sky. And the stars – they went on and on, like an infinite chain of light. The light of stars that had died long ago and the light of newborn stars flickering like jewels, inviting us to drink in the awe of the beauty, the hugeness, the limitlessness of the universe.

“They look so close, it’s like we can almost touch them,” one of my daughters said. My son lifted his gloved hand to reach up towards the stars. I looked at his tiny hand against the immensity of the icy, night sky, and I thought, Thank You for this walk. Thank You for this moment. Thank You for showing us the lights of a billion stars on a winter night.

Before that moment, I had been getting angry at my husband. Why did he have to stay to shmooze after dinner when all the kids were tired? It was his fault that we got lost. His fault that the signs were covered in frost and the sidewalks were sheets of ice. His fault that the map was useless. It was all his fault.

Of course, we had printed out the map and made this whole plan together. But emotions can narrow our perspectives so quickly, especially when we are lost and cold and seeing the world only through our own eyes.

Gazing up at the stars reminded me how small I was in this beautiful, infinite universe. I couldn’t begin to count the stars. Couldn’t even fathom how much light and potential lay beyond what I could see above me. And the awe we all felt as we paused and looked up reminded me how each of us sees the world through unique eyes. There are as many ways of seeing this world as there are stars in the sky, but I am the only one who can see life through my lens. No one can see what I see, no one since the beginning of time and no one after me. And that humbled me and lifted me up at the same time.

Each of us is a whole world, but we are also just one speck of life. And there was no one to blame when life’s plans didn’t work out. No one to blame for the detours and routes that sometimes bring us in circles. No one to blame for icy sidewalks and covered signs. There was just the journey. There was just the immense beauty of the star-lit sky and the opportunity for us to appreciate it.

Perhaps it was an adventure after all. It was a precious reminder: Look up! Even when you’re lost. Especially when you are lost. When your map is useless and you don’t know where to turn. Look up and gaze at the stars. For all along the way, when I thought I was walking in darkness, there were billions of glittering possibilities shining above me.

I just had to look up.