"Remember this day when you went out Egypt,from the house of bondage,for with a mighty hand God took you out of there"-Exodus 13:3b
"The Seder is not really about the reexperiencing of the slavery and redemption of the Hebrews.As we see below,We all have our own Egypt to leave and we do leave "Egypt" It is not a reexperience,which cannot really be,but an experience,it is not theater but life"-Edward Greenstein
This Passover I'm reminded time and time again through the Haggadah to "Respect the Stranger" and not to "Oppress the stranger".I find during this time of Passover I am stranger to myself through my grief.The person that I was before tended to be much more outgoing now I find myself not so much so,some of the things that I enjoy like a walk outside I don't so much enjoy anymore.I find myself experiencing this as my own Haggadah the grief being my own Egypt,my narrow place I'm trying to journey out of and I want to share part of this Haggadah with you all that is my mourner's path.At times this Haggadah may be sad at times it times it may be joyful but we all have a journey to liberation this is mine at the moment.Journey with me.
Something I find in this Haggadah of grief is a lot of questions.The four that stand out mostly to me are where do I go from here?Why not me?Why couldn't I have been more present in my sister's life?and How can I make the most out of the life given to me.My grief counselor has assured me these questions are all normal.Yet in some ways I want answers to them now.I don't think I will though.My grief counselor has assured me that feelings of guilt are nrmal but I should not let them hold sway.Still though I rest in the questions right now.
Another thing is instead of saying dayenu-it would have been enough.I find myself my life is not enough right now without my sister.I am mad at times,I do get sad never depressed.Some days I'm low and some days I have only what I could call Shalom a complete.I love the days of Shalom dread the low days.I have to accept kicking and screaming that a void will always be there that doesn't exactly mean I like the void.I have no other reality to accept but that void is there.In the exile of this void I realize though I am finding more of who I am.I can say sincerely and at times bluntly where I feel on things.I embrace this yet at times my bluntless has hurt others which I feel really bad about at times.This though is life right now.
This Haggadah is not all dismal for the Haggadah is a journey of freedom.Even though I find myself in the maggid portion of this Haggadah I find myself approaching that great banquet to follow.I see within me something new being birthed not only in becoming a Jew but a new person itself is being birthed.I returned to my Egypt of old in going back to Florida.Than in coming back to Chicago realized my life has went full circle.That this event itself was a part of my own journey to Sinai as I await for those waters to part,that celebration of myself joining in that covenant I already feel much a part of . I find myself celebrating in within my prayers.My Halleyu is louder,my Elohai N'shema reverberating and the Mourner's Kaddish said with a faith in that trancendent oneness that I thought I never could have.I am free within even though at times it may not feel like I am.I affirm I experience a freedom.My bread of affliction has became my suestance and I can't await until this mourning turns into dancing.Amen.
Some Questions to Ponder:
What Haggadah are you writing this Passover?
What in the Seder service of your life is enabling you to journey towards a greater liberation?
If you have experienced a tragic event around this Passover season or before it what freedom are you finding in your grief?
This song by Shlomo Carlebach has become kind of my mantra as I go into that Israel that is my soul as I struggle with myself and God to understand this event within me.I return to that which matters most.Who I am becoming and who I am meant to be.Who that person will be I have no idea but await joyfully for his arrival when I least notice it.