Thursday, March 28, 2013

Accept the Invitation - Our First Seder

A few weeks before Passover, my family got invited to join friends at their seder.  In the past, my husband and I hosted the seder for our small extended family.  My husband and I had great expectations and dreams  hoped that our seder would be filled with deep meaning and joy.  With so many around the table who were interested in completing the seder rather than experiencing it, I often found myself rushing through so that I can get the dinner on the table, enjoy it for a few minutes, finish the meal, clean up so that everyone goes home and I can relax.

So when we got invited to our friends, we grabbed it.  For obvious reasons, the fact that I didn't have to host and prepare was enough to relieve any anxiety that had been racing through my veins.  But there was more.  As my friends and colleagues went crazy with stress to clean their kitchens and prepare for the holiday, I didn't have to do anything.  I felt free.

It was only after the seder that I realized how this experience has impacted me, transformed me and enlightened me.  At the same time, I was more in solution this year than I had been in previous years.  Here are a few ways that by doing things differently, I noticed an internal shift in my behavior and my mood.

  • I want to learn more about Judaism and can only do that by seeing how others live and practice their Judaism.  By sharing this seder with my friends, I was not only hungry for the food, but for every word that was spoken.  I didn't care what time it was, and frankly, even after the almost 5 hour seder, I could have stayed longer.  
  • Though my mother was invited, she decided not to come and told me to go to the seder with my friends.  My mother gave me a gift and I fully accepted.  We were having dinner with her the following evening and so I embraced our friends' invitation without guilt and was grateful to my mother for understanding what this meant to me.
  • With all this extra time, our family conversations were about the holiday, how we should observe and how to clean out the pantry (which we did - a first for our family).  My daughter, now in her bat-mitzvah year, wanted to experience the holiday through practice and though I was a little scared, we decided to do our best to make the experience meaningful rather than perfect.
Like the lessons of Passover, I feel liberated from my internal emotional enslavements of insecurity, anxiety, stress, anger and fear.  All those feelings that I had experienced in the past years are now replaced with excitement, curiosity, and joy.  

I wonder what next year will bring...

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